It's not officially official yet, but will be at some point Monday afternoon when it is announced in a press conference that Detroit Tigers ace and 2011 AL MVP Justin Verlander will start the All-Star Game for the American League squad and manager Ron Washington, a source told FoxSports.com.
Washington had his pick of the litter this season, unlike last year when the AL's best starters — Verlander, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, etc., were all unavailable to pitch in the game because they pitched on the Sunday leading up to the game.
This year, there are no such problems. Sabathia is on the disabled list, and C.J. Wilson announced he would not play in the game thanks to a blister problem on his throwing hand, but everyone else is pretty much available when it comes to the top guns in the AL, and there is no bigger gun than Verlander.
The Tigers ace is 9-5 on the season with a 2.58 ERA. He's on pace to lead the majors in strikeouts and innings pitched by the time it's all said and done, just like he did last season. He also has a major-league leading five complete games to his ledger this season.
Last year, the AL had an excuse for losing the game. This year, there's no such thing.