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Smaller Names Shine in All-Star Game

The main focus of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is on the players who are usual on the roster, but this year it was the smaller names who ended up winning it for the American League.

Tuesday night's game was the shortest game since 1988, but it wasn't short of excitement. While Monday night's focus was on home runs, Tuesday was all about pitching. The American League was able to out pitch the National league despite a rocky start from Roy Halladay. Both teams managed to throw under 120 pitches over eight pitchers, with the AL throwing 108 and the NL throwing 118.

Even though the pitching dazzled it was the AL reserves that ending up being the difference maker.
While Carl Crawford, Curtis Granderson and Adam Jones are not unknowns in the league, they certainly weren't supposed to be more valuable than Jason Bay and Nelson Cruz.

With the game tied at three in the seventh inning, Brad Hawpe hit a drive off of Jonathan Papbelbon. When it looked like it was all but out, Carl Crawford reached up and made what he called the best catch of his career. That grab not only earned him the MVP but most likely also saved the game. It was one of the most spectacular plays of the first half and definitely the play of the game.

In the next half inning it was Curtis Granderson's turn. With one and no one on, Granderson laced a hard hit ball off of Heath Bell over the head of Justin Upton. With the ball careening off of the wall Curtis rounded second and slid head first into the bag at third base. The NL decided to intentionally walk Victor Martinez to get to, what they believed was a non-threat, Adam Jones. After a lengthy at bat Jones finally hit one into the outfield scoring Granderson on the Sac Fly.

These three in the end were the difference makers for the American League, showing why the NL has been unable to win recently. While the NL may have starters to compete with the American League, its reserves are nowhere close the AL's. It is the second year in a row that the reserves have made the difference. Last year it was Justin Morneau and Michael Young who won it for the AL.

If the National League wants to come out of the Mid-Summer Classic with a win in the near future it needs to look past its starters. Sure, it is good to have a great starting line up, but in the end it comes down to the role players. The AL just simply has better ones and that is how they have been unbeaten 13 in a row.

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