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MLB All-Star Game: NL's Scherzer, Tatis look to snap AL win streak

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer will start for the National League against the American League in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday in Denver. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer will start for the National League against the American League in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday in Denver. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

July 13 (UPI) -- The National League will turn to pitcher Max Scherzer and a Fernando Tatis Jr.-led offense when they attempt to end a seven-year losing streak to the American League in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday in Denver.

Scherzer, of the Washington Nationals, takes the mound at 7:30 p.m. EDT to face an American League offense led by Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher and leadoff hitter Shohei Ohtani. The 91st Midsummer Classic at Coors Field airs on Fox.

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"It still gives me chills, being here around these legends and future Hall of Famers," New York Yankees and American League outfielder Aaron Judge told reporters Monday.

"It's a special opportunity and it's tough to describe."

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The National League is favored, expected to win for the first time since 2012. The American League beat the National League 4-3 in 2019 at Progressive Field in Cleveland and has a 19-3-1 record at the event since 1997.

The 2020 MLB All-Star Game was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The American League holds a 45-43-2 advantage in the series since the game was first held on July 6, 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

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Coors Field will allow a full capacity crowd of about 50,000 fans. Just over 49,000 fans attended the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby on Monday at Coors Field.

Tuesday night's contest will be played without several of the game's best players. New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, and Houston Astros infielders Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve are among the stars who opted out because of injury concerns.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was elected as a starter for the National League, but sustained a season-ending torn ACL on Saturday in Miami. Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds will start in place of Acuna.

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Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. leads MLB with a .332 batting average and will bat second for the American League. Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos, who ranks second in batting average, will hit fifth for the National League.

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The National League starting lineup features five players who rank inside the Top 24 for batting average in 2021. Four American League starters rank inside the Top 25 for batting average.

The American League starting lineup features six players who rank inside the Top 12 for home runs this season, while Tatis is the only National League starter who ranks among the Top 15 in homers.

A rule change will allow Ohtani to be listed as a designated hitter and pitcher, and remain in the game as a designated hitter when he is removed from the mound.

Scherzer edges Ohtani in most pitching categories. The Nationals ace owns a 2.66 ERA with 64 hits and 29 earned runs allowed in 17 starts. Scherzer edges Ohtani 134-87 in strikeouts. Ohtani owns a 3.49 ERA with 46 hits and 26 earned runs allowed in 13 starts.

The National League might hold an edge when it comes to the back end of the bullpen, with Mark Melancon of the San Diego Padres, Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers, Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers and Craig Kimbrel of the Chicago Cubs on the roster.

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Melancon leads MLB with 27 saves and owns a 2.04 ERA in 39 appearances. Kimbrel and Jansen own ERAs of 0.57 and 1.24, respectively.

"The best baseball players in the world are here," Tatis told reporters Monday. "Just being next to them is a true blessing."

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts unveiled the respective American League and National League batting orders Monday at a news conference.

Batting orders

American League

1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels, DH 1

2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, 1B 2

3. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox, SS

4. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees, RF 12

5. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox, 3B 8

6. Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays, 2B 8

7. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals, C 12

8. Teoscar Hernandez, Toronto Blue Jays, LF

9. Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles, CF

National League

1. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres, SS 3

2. Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers, DH 20

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3. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals, 3B

4. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves, 1B 20

5. Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds, RF

6. Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds, LF 20

7. J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies, C

8. Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates, CF

9. Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2B

How to watch

What: 2021 MLB All-Star Game

Who: National League All-Stars vs. American League All-Stars

When: 7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Where: Coors Field in Denver

TV: Fox

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