CLEVELAND — When Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts unveiled the National League's starting lineup for the 90th All-Star Game, he mentioned how he decided to bat Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. last.
He said the rising, electric talent just had to put in his time.
"He's the youngest," Roberts said.
That really doesn't narrow it down.
With an average age around 26, the lineup that Roberts wrote for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic is the youngest in history. It features the 21-year-old Acuna at No. 9, the 26-year-old Javier Baez at shortstop, and Roberts' own Cody Bellinger batting cleanup. Bellinger is 23. At designated hitter, Roberts selected Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell. He's 26.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers lefty, will start the game for the NL and become the first South Korean pitcher to do so at an All-Star-Game. Roberts said he's seen how the game has attempted to grow internationally, and this was a great chance to put that effort on the midsummer stage and reward Ryu's "consistency."
Ryu called the honor "surreal," through an interpreter.
Roberts said he's likely to have Clayton Kershaw follow Ryu into the game.
Max Scherzer was selected as an All-Star, but he will not pitch in the game due to throwing on Saturday and some soreness.
American League manager Alex Cora, whose Red Sox topped Roberts' Dodgers in this past October's World Series, selected Justin Verlander as the starter to throw the first pitch of the game. This will be the second time Verlander has started an All-Star Game, and he'll do so in the same city where he made his major-league debut.
"No, it was not good," Verlander said.
Cora laughed and then described why he went with the veteran righthander.
"He's getting better. He's getting better," Cora said. "Which sucks for us. It's a pleasure to me to give him the ball."
Paul DeJong will come off the National League bench. He was one of the last players added to the NL roster to assure that the Cardinals had a representative in the game. His ability to play second, shortstop, or third base could factor into how he's used -- or if he's used. To avoid a lengthy game, Major League Baseball will put a runner at second base to start extra innings, and that could give managers license to use more of their roster and get a majority of the players an appearance in the game.
1. Christian Yelich, LF, Milwaukee
2. Javier Baez, SS, Cubs
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta
4. Cody Bellinger, RF, Dodgers
5. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado
6. Josh Bell, DH, Pittsburgh
7. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
8. Ketel Marte, 2B, Arizona
9. Ronald Acuna Jr., CF, Atlanta
Starting pitcher: Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Dodgers
1. George Springer, RF, Houston
2. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B, Yankees
3. Mike Trout, CF, Angels
4. Carlos Santana, 1B, Cleveland
5. J.D. Martinez, DH, Boston
6. Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston
7. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
8. Michael Brantley, LF, Houston
9. Jorge Polanco, SS, Twins
Starting pitcher: Justin Verlander, RHP, Houston
The Post-Dispatch will have ongoing, rolling coverage throughout the day from the All-Star Monday in Cleveland. There are press conferences all day, leading up to the Home Run Derby at Progressive Field. There will be a weekly chat bookended by the events here. The Cardinals chat at StlToday.com is set to begin at 2 p.m. St. Louis time.