How do you defeat a team that has a starting outfield of Mike Trout (Angels), Mookie Betts (Boston) and Aaron Judge (New York), supplemented by J.D. Martinez (Boston) as a designated hitter? That is what the National League will try to figure out when the All-Star game is played July 17 in Washington.
The rosters for both leagues were announced Sunday, and the American League has an impressive starting lineup that also includes catcher Wilson Ramos (Tampa Bay), first baseman Jose Abreu (Chicago), second baseman Jose Altuve (Houston), third baseman Jose Ramirez (Cleveland) and shortstop Manny Machado (Baltimore).
Unless, of course, the Dodgers manage to trade for Machado in the days before the game.
The National League’s starting nine: catcher Willson Contreras (Chicago), first baseman Freddie Freeman (Atlanta), second baseman Javier Baez (Chicago), third baseman Nolan Arenado (Colorado), shortstop Brandon Crawford (San Francisco) and outfielders Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Nick Markakis (Atlanta) and Bryce Harper (Washington).
This season, Trout, Betts, Judge and Martinez have combined to hit .315 with 99 home runs and 226 RBIs.
Boston, Cleveland and Houston had the most representatives with five each. Atlanta led the NL with four.
Altuve led all players with 4,849,630 votes, followed by Betts (4,286,994), Freeman (4,039,219), Trout (3,682,164) and Markakis (3,556,469).
Markakis is a 13-year veteran making his first appearance at the All-Star game. According to MLB, no player has ever played more games than Markakis (1,928) before getting his first All-Star nod. Markakis breaks the record previously held by Ron Fairly, who played in 1,866 games before being named to the 1973 All-Star team.
The closest race? Machado finished just 56,629 votes ahead of Houston’s Carlos Correa to get the AL nod at shortstop.
Fans now get to pick the final spot on each team in the All-Star game’s “Final Vote” campaign. Fans can vote via computer, tablet or smart phone until Wednesday at 1 p.m. PDT.
In the NL, the final five choices are first baseman Jesus Aguilar of Milwaukee, first baseman Brandon Belt of San Francisco, infielder Matt Carpenter of St. Louis, infielder Max Muncy of the Dodgers and shortstop Trea Turner of Washington.
The final five in the AL are outfielder Andrew Benintendi of Boston, outfielder Eddie Rosario of Minnesota, shortstop Jean Segura of Seattle, shortstop Andrelton Simmons of the Angels and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton of New York.
You can vote online at www.mlb.com/all-star/final-vote.
Here’s how individual teams are represented in the NL:
Arizona: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B; Patrick Corbin, LHP.
Atlanta: Freeman, 1B; Markakis, OF; Ozzie Albies, 2B; Mike Foltynewicz, RHP.
Chicago: Contreras, C; Baez, 2B; Jon Lester, LHP.
Cincinnati: Joey Votto, 1B; Scooter Gennett, 2B; Eugenio Suarez, 3B.
Colorado: Arenado, 3B; Trevor Story, SS; Charlie Blackmon, OF.
Dodgers: Kemp and Jansen.
Miami: J.T. Realmuto, C.
Milwaukee: Lorenzo Cain, OF; Christian Yelich, OF; Josh Hader, LHP.
New York: Jacob deGrom, RHP.
Philadelphia: Aaron Nola, RHP.
Pittsburgh: Felipe Vazquez, LHP.
St. Louis: Miles Mikolas, RHP.
San Diego: Brad Hand, LHP.
San Francisco: Crawford, SS; Buster Posey, C.
Washington: Harper, OF; Sean Doolittle, LHP; Max Scherzer, RHP.
The breakdown in the AL:
Baltimore: Machado, SS.
Boston: Betts, OF, Martinez, DH; Mitch Moreland, 1B; Craig Kimbrel, RHP; Chris Sale, LHP.
Chicago: Abreu, 1B.
Cleveland: Ramirez, 3B; Francisco Lindor, SS; Michael Brantley, OF; Trevor Bauer, RHP; Corey Kluber, RHP.
Detroit: Joe Jimenez, RHP.
Houston: Altuve, 2B; Alex Bregman, 3B; George Springer, OF; Gerrit Cole, RHP; Justin Verlander; RHP.
Kansas City: Salvador Perez, C.
Angels: Trout, OF.
Minnesota: Jose Berrios; RHP.
New York: Judge, OF; Gleyber Torres, 2B; Aroldis Chapman, LHP; Luis Severino, RHP.
Oakland: Blake Treinen, RHP.
Seattle: Mitch Haniger, OF; Nelson Cruz, OF; Edwin Diaz, RHP.
Tampa Bay: Ramos, C.
Texas: Shin-Soo Choo, OF.
Toronto: J.A. Happ, LHP.