- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

If It Counted: National League

Same premise as this afternoon, only we’re dealing with the Senior Circuit this time around.

Andrew McCutchen, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Albert Pujols, 1B
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Matt Holliday, LF
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
Jayson Werth, RF
Brian McCann, C

Bench: Yadier Molina (C), Joey Votto (1B/PH), David Wright (3B), Jose Reyes (SS/PR), Colby Rasmus (OF)

Roy Halladay, SP

Bullpen: Jonathan Broxton (R), Billy Wagner (L), Luke Gregerson (R), Hong-Chih Kuo (L), Sean Marshall (L), Matt Belisle (R, long guy)

With the American League putting a left-handed Cliff Lee on the mound, the NL line-up leans pretty heavily to the right-hand side. It would anyway, as most of the NL’s best hitters are right-handed, but it would be interesting to see how the match-ups unfolded after Lee left the game. For those wondering about the starter/reserve decisions, Zimmerman gets the nod due to his better defense, which is more important with Halladay’s sinker, while Gonzalez edges out Votto because I had to pick someone – there’s no wrong answer between those two.

In terms of in-game management, you’d probably pinch-hit Wright for McCann at some point when the AL had an LHP on the mound and Votto for McCutchen if there was a righty on the hill, but besides that, you’re not making a whole lot of changes. Even using Reyes as a pinch-runner would be tougher because you’d lose your only reserve shortstop, but the need to have both a RH and LH bat off the bench for pinch hitting limits the flexibility.

What the team lacks on the position player side of things, though, they make up for on the mound. Even as good as the AL hitters are, I don’t see them putting together a lot of offense against Halladay and that bullpen. An extreme groundball guy with great command being relieved by four guys who are nearly impossible to hit, plus a couple of nifty multi-inning relievers from each side if the game goes into extra innings? That’d be quite the challenge for American League hitters to overcome.

All told, this would be a fascinating game to watch. If MLB wants to give home field advantage to one league or another based on one game, how about having this affair right after the World Series ends? Who wouldn’t watch that? It’d be great theatre.