June 18, 2018
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NL All-Star team features all-Cubs infield

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

For the first time in 53 years and only the second time in Major League Baseball history, four players from one team will comprise the starting infield for an All-Star Game.

All four Chicago Cubs infielders — first baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell and third baseman Kris Bryant — were voted as starters for the midsummer class next Tuesday night in San Diego. Only the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals previously had all four infielders in the starting lineup.

Center fielder Dexter Fowler will join his Chicago teammates, making the Cubs the first team since the Cincinnati Reds’ Big Red Machine in 1976 to have five starters in the lineup.

Also on the NL roster will be sixth and seventh Cubs chosen — pitchers Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. Arrieta will be making his first appearance and Lester his fourth.

The non-Cubs starters for the NL will be San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and outfielders Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets.

In the American League, the Boston Red Sox landed four starters on the team and six overall. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts will be first-time starters, and designated hitter David Ortiz will make his 10th appearance in his final season. Selected to the pitching staff were starter Steven Wright and reliever Craig Kimbrel.

Two Kansas City Royals players — catcher Salvador Perez and first baseman Eric Hosmer — were named to the AL starting lineup along with Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who will make his fifth appearance.

The All-Star starters reflect a youth movement, with 12 of the 17 players voted into the lineup are age 26 or younger. Bogaerts and Russell are the pair of first starting shortstops under age 24 in All-Star history.

The AL’s starting infield and catcher are all 26 or younger, an All-Star first.

Perez topped all vote-getters with 4,965,838 votes, making him the second Royal to top the balloting. George Brett was the leader in 1981.

Rizzo was the NL leader with 3,242,670 votes.

The tightest race was for second base in the NL. Zobrist finished with 3,013,407 votes to edge the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy by 88 votes.

Trout won the All-Star MVP each of the past two years, the first player to take the award back to back.

Candidates in the Final Five voting by fans are second basemen Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, and outfielder Michael Saunders of the Toronto Blue Jays and George Springer of the Astros in the AL and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, outfielders Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates, third baseman Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.

One player from each league will be selected based on votes.

 


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