Houston's Dusty Baker is in charge of managing the American League side of the 2022 MLB All-Star Game after leading the Astros to the World Series last season, but don't expect him to be playing favorites with Astros ace Justin Verlander.
The veteran manager hinted that Shohei Ohtani is a candidate to start for the AL All-Star team for the second straight season.
MLB All-Star Game News
Ohtani has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball over the last 34 days, posting a 0.45 ERA during with 58 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched. Baker got a front row seat to see Ohtani pitch on Wednesday night and the reigning AL MVP picked apart the Astros with 6.0 innings on one-run ball.
It was Ohtani's fourth consecutive outing with double-digit strikeouts and no more than one run allowed. Only nine other pitchers have done that since 1913. It's another dazzling achievement for a Los Angeles Angels ace that is 9-4 on the season with a 2.38 ERA and 0.99 WHIP across 15 starts.
Many MLB fans expected Justin Verlander to be named the starting pitcher considering he remains among the favorites to win the AL Cy Young award. However, he is slated to pitch for Houston on Saturday, which means he will not have enough time to recover and appear in the All-Star Game at all.
Other possible candidates include Shane McLanahan of the Tampa Bay Rays and Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees. Baker has a few days to decide as the All-Star Game doesn't take place until 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday night. The American League has come out on top in each of the last eight years.
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