Five bold predictions for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game

July 15

The Yankees’ Derek Jeter will play in his 14th All-Star Game on Tuesday night. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Here’s what we know will happen at Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game (8 p.m., Fox): Derek Jeter will get an emotional farewell; the NL or AL will win (which didn’t happen in 2002) to earn its league home-field advantage in the World Series; and Nationals fans will be upset that Tyler Clippard is their team’s lone representative available. But here are five daring prognostications for the game.

1. Derek Jeter will lead off with a hit for the AL. Out of the 18 starting All-Stars (excluding pitchers), Jeter has the second-worst batting average. He’s hitting just .272 this year and will be leading off the bottom of the first inning against NL starter Adam Wainwright, who has allowed just 38 hits and six runs over his past 52⅔ innings and has a 1.03 ERA in that seven-game span. But this is Jeter’s night and there’s a reason he’s considered one of the most clutch hitters in baseball history. In his 14th All-Star Game, the future Hall of Famer will at least get a base hit in his first at-bat.

2. Win or lose, Tyler Clippard will get the decision for the NL. Clippard is a set-up man, but he racks up decisions like a starter. In 2010, as a reliever, he led the Nationals in wins — going 11-8 in 78 appearances. This year, Clippard has as many wins (six) as fellow All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (who is nursing a biceps injury and won’t pitch) and Gio Gonzalez. This will be Clippard’s second All-Star Game in his career. In his first All-Star appearance in 2011, the right-hander threw three pitches, allowed one hit and somehow managed to earn the win.

3. Clayton Kershaw will strike out the side when he’s called upon. Wainwright got the starting nod for the NL, but Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. The Dodgers left-hander had a recent streak of 41 scoreless innings, and he hasn’t allowed more than one run in his past seven starts. He has recorded at least seven strikeouts in 13 out of his 14 starts this season, and he has had double-digit Ks in three of his past five. Just like Pedro Martinez in the 1999 All-Star Game, Kershaw will strike out the first three hitters he faces — it just won’t be in the first inning.

4. Giancarlo Stanton will hit a mammoth home run. The Marlins slugger, a participant in Monday’s Home Run Derby, is tied for the NL lead with 21 home runs. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Stanton has averaged 423.8 feet per homer this year, the longest of anyone with at least 10 bombs. The 24-year-old wasn’t voted in as a starter, but the game is being played in an AL stadium and manager Mike Matheny decided to use Stanton as the NL’s designated hitter — batting him fifth. That should give him a few chances to show off his unreal power.

5. A catcher will win All-Star MVP. That position has won the award just once since 1998 (Brian McCann, 2010), but there are plenty of MVP-caliber catchers this year — even though the Orioles’ Matt Wieters and the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina won’t be playing because of injuries. The Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy is fifth in the NL in batting (.315), while the Royals’ Salvador Perez leads his team in homers. Then there’s Kurt Suzuki, who will be representing the Twins at Target Field. The ex-Nationals catcher is hitting .309 and could be a late-game hero in front of his home crowd.

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