Milwaukee Brewers fans will get to see plenty of familiar faces in the lineup when the National League takes on the American League for the 2014 All-Star Game. For the first time since 2007, the Brewers will send four players to the Midsummer Classic: Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez, Johnathan Lucroy and Francisco Rodriguez.
Gomez will return to the All-Star Game for the second consecutive year, but will earn the start this time around after garnering over four million votes to come in second among National League outfielders. He has earned the extra votes with an even more disciplined approach at the plate than last season, posting a .299 BA, .365 OBP and .870 OPS, all career highs. Among NL center fielders, Gomez is tied for second in home runs, third in RBI's and second in hits. Those numbers along with his stellar fielding and no doubt his endearment among Milwaukee fans will earn him an opportunity to play in Minneapolis, a city Gomez played in for two years before being traded to the Brewers.
The other Brewers All-Star starter is third basemen Aramis Ramirez, who will be making his third All-Star appearance. Ramirez (36), is the oldest player to make the NL roster, and second oldest to appear in the game this year behind Derek Jeter (40). Despite playing in only 63 of Milwaukee's 89 games, Ramirez is tied for fourth among NL third basemen in homers (11), tied for fifth in RBI's (41) and sixth in batting average (.287). The notoriously slow starter has put in some valuable at-bats for the Brewers when heathy, and will see plenty of action at the hot corner on July 15th.
The final position player to make the NL All-Star team from Milwaukee is Johnathan Lucroy, who is making his All-Star Game debut. Lucroy has had the talent to call a good game behind the plate and block pitches in the dirt since he came into the league, but what drew the attention of fans this year is what he did standing next to the plate. His .329 average is second best in the National League, and his 30 doubles are twice as many as Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who beat Lucroy in fan votes to earn the start. Although Molina edged out Lucroy this year, fans outside of Milwaukee have taken notice and could make a run at the incumbent NL starting catcher in coming years.
Rounding out the Brewers strong representation is closer Francisco Rodriguez, who is making his fifth All-Star appearance. Rodriguez has converted 27 saves on 30 appearances this season, tying him with Craig Kimbrel for the NL lead. After not evening being pegged as the Brewers closer going into the season, K-Rod saved each of his first 15 opportunities. The key has been keeping walks down (9), which is impressive given that he relies heavily on his changeup and curveball for strikes. If his opponent batting average were to hold at its present .187 value, it would be the lowest such number in K-Rod's career since 2005.
The Milwaukee Brewers are the only NL team to feature two players among the starting eight position players in this year's All-Star game. Although cases could be made for players like Ryan Braun, Mark Reynolds, Will Smith and Kyle Lohse who missed the cut, the Brewers are far from misrepresented as a division leader. The 2014 All-Star game airs at 7 p.m. on July 15th on FOX.
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