Victor Martinez to catch his first game since 2011

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Jim Leyland has penciled Victor Martinez into tonight’s lineup. Not as a DH, though. As a catcher.

This marks the first time behind the plate since August 4, 2011. Between Alex Avila coming up and Martinez tearing his ACL before the 2012 season, catching just wasn’t in the cards for him.  But now Alex Avila is recovering from a concussion and the Tigers are playing in an NL Park and Jim Leyland doesn’t want to take Martinez’s bat out of the lineup.

Never a great defensive catcher when that was his usual gig, the time off has probably made him pretty rusty. If the Mets get runners on base, you have to assume they’ll have the green light all night long.

For the second straight year, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer match up as All-Star Game starters

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For the second year in a row, the All-Star Game will feature a starting pitching matchup of Chris Sale vs. Max Scherzer. The two were just announced at a press conference at Nationals Park.

This, in fact, will be Sale’s third straight start of the Midsummer Classic, as he faced off against Johnny Cueto of the National League in 2016. It’s Scherzer’s third start in an All-Star Game overall, as he got the starting nod for the American League back in 2013 against Matt Harvey.

Sale is 10-4 with a 2.23 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 188/31 in 129 inning pitched. He leads the American League in ERA, strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings pitched, with 13.1.

Scherzer is 12-5 with a 2.41 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 182/34 in 134.2 innings pitched. He leads the National League in wins, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, innings, batters faced, WHIP, hits per nine innings allowed and strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Because it’s the All-Star Game neither will notch a win, even if one could get a loss. Still, it’s a matchup of the two best pitchers going in 2018 and, with a tip of the cap to Clayton Kershaw, the two best starting pitchers of this era.