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The starting pitchers for the 2018 All-Star Game were announced

Monday and the battle should have fans salivating.For the second straight year Freddie Freeman Jersey , Boston Red Sox star Chris Sale will represent the American League while Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals takes the ball for the National League, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.Scherzer will get a chance to pitch in front of his home fans in Tuesday's game, which will take place at Nationals Park.Jayson Stark of the Athletic noted the rarity of the pitcher's accomplishment:Jayson Stark jaysonstMax Scherzer, your NL starter, will be the first reigning Cy Young to start an ASG in his home park. Pretty cool feat.The three-time Cy Young award winner also started the All-Star Game last season, although he had a lot of competition for the honor this time around. New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom leads all pitchers with a 1.68 ERA while Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola is a top candidate with his 12-3 record.Still, Scherzer is plenty deserving while finishing the first half of the year with a 12-5 record, 2.41 ERA and a league-leading 182 strikeouts.Meanwhile, Sale also enters rare territory as the AL starter for the third straight season:MLB Stat of the Day MLBStatoftheDayChris Sale is the first pitcher to start the #AllStarGame for three straight seasons since Robin Roberts (1953-55). 4QzEtD9ysRThe Red Sox lefty leads the majors with 188 strikeouts and his 2.23 ERA is the best in the American League.Justin Verlander has also had an outstanding season for the Houston Astros but he pitched Sunday and the other top options simply haven't matched what Sale has done in 2018. Within 22 months, Kimbrel, Simmons, Heyward and Upton would all be gone. So would Wren, fired as general manager with a week to go in the 2014 season, less than eight months after Freeman signed his contract.Former longtime front office executive John Hart left the MLB Network studios and took over as the head of baseball operations. It wasn't long before he realized the upper levels of the farm system were barren and the payroll wouldn't work, and the Braves needed to go into full rebuilding mode. Everyone and anyone of value could be traded.Except Freeman.Hart came to believe the same thing Wren did, that Freeman was indispensable. He also learned about Freeman's character, which showed up the day the Braves signed him to the extension."He was extremely appreciative and loyal to the organization when we gave him that contract," said Wren, now the senior vice president/player personnel of the Boston Red Sox. "He was as appreciative a young player as I've seen."When Freeman signed his deal in February 2014, he had three years of major league service time and was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career. It was the point when a player could expect a long-term contract offer and the question would be whether to sign or to wait it out for bigger riches in free agency.Freeman was just happy the Braves trusted him enough to offer him all that money."Four years later, I'm still kind of at a loss for words," he said. "I never , ever thought any of this would happen. I grew up playing a game I loved and grew up playing with my brothers and my dad. Next thing you know, I'm here. Believe me, I didn't expect any of this."No one who knows Freeman is surprised to hear him say this. And everyone who knows him is certain he means it.That's one reason Hart and the people who came in to run the Braves believed he was the one guy who would stay, the guy they could keep through the rebuilding and into the better years to come, the guy who would be able to handle all of it."Freddie was going to be the cornerstone piece," said Hart, who left the Braves last November.For Freeman and manager Brian Snitker, both Braves for life, 2018 has been a fun year.Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesSo as they traded Heyward to St. Louis and Kimbrel and Upton to San Diego and Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels and Evan Gattis to Houston and Shelby Miller to Arizona, Freeman remained through 2015 (95 losses), 2016 (93 losses) and 2017 (90 losses)."I cannot make it any more clear: We are not trading Freddie Freeman," former general manager John Coppolella told Bob Nightengale of USA Today in November 2015, right after the Simmons trade. "We are not. I'd give my right arm before we trade Freddie Freeman. It is not happening."Reading those words at home in Atlanta, Freeman loved it. He couldn't believe a general manager would say something like that. He was even more impressed when Coppolella picked up the phone and called him directly to say the same thing."I didn't want Freeman said. "I still don't."It wasn't easy watching friends leave, going to spring training with a team everyone knew couldn't win.It wasn't easy when Freeman got off to an MVP-type start last year, only to have his left wrist fractured on May 17 when Toronto's Aaron Loup hit him with a pitch. He was leading the National League in home runs at the time, with 14 in 37 games, the most of any Brave that early in a season since Hank Aaron. He was hitting .341 with a .461 on-base percentage and .748 slugging percentage."I thought for sure he was going to win the MVP," Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz said.The doctors said he would miss at least 10 weeks. Freeman told them he was a fast healer and vowed to do anything he could to return quicker.He came back on July 4, one day less than seven weeks after the injury.Oh, and he came back as a third baseman.Ask Braves players and coaches , and Freeman's brief move to third base is often the first thing they bring up. It wasn't just that an All-Star first baseman agreed to play third. It was that he offered to do it without ever being asked, because the Braves had traded for first baseman Matt Adams while he was hurt, and while Adams was hitting well, third base was more of a problem."He was the one who made the suggestion," said Ron Washington, who coaches the Braves infielders.

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