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Playing to the Crowd: Haren Starts for the AL

The starting pitchers for tomorrow night's All-Star Game have been announced. Five candidates had strong cases: Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia, Boston's Josh Beckett, Oakland's Dan Haren, and Detroit's Justin Verlander. (The Angels' John Lackey probably deserved consideration too, but those four have been the front-runners for a while.)

Jim Leyland really couldn't have made a wrong choice, and hasn't shown favor toward any of his guys as All-Star manager. But with the game in San Francisco, he decided to go with the guy who pitches in the Bay Area. So Dan Haren will get the start.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a nice extra touch since he pitches right across the bay in Oakland," Leyland said. "If the game was in Cleveland it would probably be Sabathia. If it was in Detroit, probably Verlander."

For the season, Haren has a 10-3 record and leads the American League with a 2.30 ERA. His 101 strikeouts are among the top ten in the league, as well.

Starting for the National League will be Jake Peavy, who leads the National League in strikeouts with 125. He's also second in ERA at 2.19 and tied for first in WHIP with 1.06. How does he have only nine wins?

Both pitchers are only 26 years old, which is the youngest match-up of starting pitchers the All-Star Game has seen in quite a few years.

UPDATE: The starting batting orders were also announced, and Jim Leyland is depending on his guys to carry the bottom of the lineup. Magglio Ordonez will bat sixth, Pudge Rodriguez seventh, and Placido Polanco has the eighth spot, in front of Dan Haren.