If you were the manager of the American League All-Star Team, and let's say that you happened to also be the manager of some underperforming team in a crappy division that could envision skating through into the World Series, where home field advantage may come to matter, what do you suppose you would do to maximize your chances of being victorious in the upcoming exhibition game?
If you answered, "bat my own cleanup hitter in the cleanup spot," you have descended into the expected level of homerism for the selection. You also did not do what Tigers manager did on Monday afternoon when he announced the lineups. Miguel Cabrera is not the cleanup hitter. Chris Davis, world leader in home runs, is.
Handed a lineup featuring the stars of the American League, Leyland's choice for a cleanup hitter is Davis. He is the slugger's slugger.
What's funny about this is that Davis is not even the cleanup hitter of the Orioles, having only gotten 40 plate appearances while batting fourth in the lineup in 2013. That is another story for another day.
You may recall that there are two other Orioles in the starting lineup. Adam Jones bats seventh, playing center field, and J.J. Hardy is the shortstop, batting ninth.
The complete American League starting lineup:
Mike Trout - LF
Robinson Cano - 2B
Miguel Cabrera - 3B
Chris Davis - 1B
Jose Bautista - RF
David Ortiz - DH
Adam Jones - CF
Joe Mauer - C
J.J. Hardy - SS
Max Scherzer is the American League starting pitcher.
Here are the starters for the National League lineup, which is all that stands between the Orioles and games 1 and 2 (and 6 and 7, if needed) of the World Series being played in Baltimore:
Brandon Phillips - 2B
Carlos Beltran - RF
Joey Votto - 1B
David Wright - 3B
Carlos Gonzalez - LF
Yadier Molina - C
Troy Tulowitzki - SS
Michael Cuddyer - DH
Bryce Harper - CF
Matt Harvey is the National League starting pitcher.