Shocker: Leyland confirms Rivera will be AL’s closer for All-Star Game

Via George King & Dan Martin: Tigers manager Jim Leyland confirmed Mariano Rivera will serve as the AL’s closer for next month’s All-Star Game. “He took me off the hook from all that silly stuff that they wanted him to start the game … I hope I give him the ball in the ninth inning in New York,” he said. Leyland is managing because Detroit won the pennant last year.

Rivera, 43, has a 1.55 ERA (2.36 FIP) with 26 saves in 27 chances this year. There was a campaign to have Mo start the All-Star Game as a way to honor his career, but thankfully that was shot down. Rivera himself said he didn’t want to start. The game will be played in New York at CitiField, so hopefully the AL squad gives Mo a lead to protect in the ninth inning during his final All-Star Game. That would be pretty darn neat.

Robinson Cano named captain of AL Homerun Derby team (again)

For the second straight year, Robinson Cano will captain the AL Homerun Derby squad, MLB announced. He won the event back in 2011, as you surely remember. David Wright will do the honors for the NL. He was the runner-up to Ryan Howard back in 2006. The All-Star Game is in CitiField this year, so good job by MLB of picking the two New York guys.

NL shuts out AL in 2012 All-Star Game

The National League wrecked the American League on Tuesday night, winning the 2012 All-Star Game by the score of 8-0. Starter Justin Verlander gets most of the blame after allowing five runs before his teammates even got to hit in the first inning. Former Yankee Melky Cabrera took home the MVP Award thanks to his 2-for-3 showing. He hit a two-run homer off Matt Harrison. It was the NL’s third straight All-Star Game win.

As for the Yankees, captain Derek Jeter went 1-for-2 with an infield single off Matt Cain. Robinson Cano went 1-for-2 with a ground ball single up the middle (off Stephen Strasburg) and Curtis Granderson went 0-for-2 with a fly out and a ground out. All three started the game at their regular positions and played five innings in the field. CC Sabathia was selected to the game but did not pitch due to his groin strain. Cano left his good friend Melky hanging on the above high-five attempt following his homer, so that was pretty funny.

More importantly, the National League has clinched home field advantage in the World Series. That’s pretty unfortunate. The Yankees are legitimate contenders and should they make it to the Fall Classic, it would have been nice to both open the series as well as play a potential Game Seven at home in the Bronx. Oh well, they’ll just have to do it the hard way.

[box score] [WPA graph] [.gif via  @bubbaprog]

2012 All-Star Game Open Thread

The Yankees have World Series aspirations every year, which is why the All-Star Game should be a bit more than a midseason exhibition to them and their fans. Home field advantage in the World Series is on the line, and it sure is nice to kick off the Fall Classic at home rather than on the road. The 2009 Yankees had home field advantage against the Phillies thanks to one of their own, just not at the time. Curtis Granderson, then with the Tigers, tripled off Heath Bell in the eighth inning before coming in to score the go-ahead and game-winning run on Adam Jones’ sacrifice fly. Mariano Rivera then nailed it down with a perfect inning for his record fourth All-Star save.

Four Yankees were selected to this year’s game but only three will play since CC Sabathia is currently on the DL with his groin strain. The other three are all in the starting lineup…

National League (roster)
DH Carlos Gonzalez
CF Melky Cabrera
LF Ryan Braun
1B Joey Votto
RF Carlos Beltran
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
2B Dan Uggla
SS Rafael Furcal

RHP Matt Cain

American League (roster)
SS Derek Jeter
2B Robinson Cano
LF Josh Hamilton
RF Jose Bautista
1B Prince Fielder
3B Adrian Beltre
DH David Ortiz
C Mike Napoli
CF Curtis Granderson

RHP Justin Verlander

The broadcast starts at 7:30pm ET and can be seen on FOX, though that’s just the introductions and stuff. The game itself probably won’t start until 8-8:15 or so. Talk about that or anything else you’d like here, it’s all fair game.

Site News: We’re happy to announce that we’ve added a new writer, someone you’re probably familiar with already. His name is Eric Schultz, and you’ve seen him at The Yankee Analysts (archive) and the now defunct Pending Pinstripes. You can follow Eric on Twitter at @Eric_J_S. Welcome him aboard.

Jeter, Cano, and Granderson named starters for All-Star Game

SS Derek Jeter, 2B Robinson Cano, and OF Curtis Granderson will all start in the All-Star Game later this month after winning the fan voting at their respective positions. Other AL starters include C Mike Napoli, 1B Prince Fielder, 3B Adrian Beltre, OF Josh Hamilton, OF Jose Bautista, and DH David Ortiz. No word on the reserves yet, but I’m not sure any other Yankees will be selected for the game.

NL starters include C Buster Posey, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Dan Uggla, SS Rafael Furcal, 3B Pablo Sandoval, OF Matt Kemp, OF Carlos Beltan, and former Yankee OF Melky Cabrera.

Update: CC Sabathia has been selected to the pitching staff, but he obviously won’t participate in the game given his injury. It would have been neat if Hiroki Kuroda was named his replacement, but the spot went to C.J. Wilson instead. Here are the full rosters and the Final Vote ballot.