The starting pitching matchup at the All-Star game — whatever it ends up being — could be one for the ages.
Seattle's Felix Hernandez looks like the front-runner in the American League, with a 10-2 record and a 2.11 ERA. Meanwhile, National League manager Mike Matheny of St. Louis could end up choosing between Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 1.85) and Cardinals star Adam Wainwright (11-4, 1.89) for the start.
The last time both All-Star starters had ERAs under 2.15 was back in 1974, according to STATS. Gaylord Perry (1.47 ERA at the break) took the mound for the AL against Andy Messersmith (2.11) of the NL.
Of course, that game wasn't exactly a pitching duel. The NL won 7-2. Messersmith and Perry both went three innings, with Messersmith allowing two runs and Perry one. They both did go on to reach 20 wins that year.
New York Yankees sensation Masahiro Tanaka, another pitcher being mentioned as a possible starter in 2014, is expected to go in his team's final game before the break, which would rule him out.
Wainwright is supposed to pitch Saturday, but he says participating in the July 15 All-Star game shouldn't disrupt his schedule too much.
"It's the All-Star Game," Wainwright said. "Vacation, right? Except it means something."
Here are five things to watch around the major leagues this week:
MARQUEE MATCHUP: The Los Angeles Dodgers visit Detroit for two games against the Tigers in what could be an interleague matchup of first-place teams. Detroit's Max Scherzer and Los Angeles' Zack Greinke — both All-Stars — take the mound Wednesday.
SMOKE AND MIRRORS?: San Diego right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne has walked eight and struck out only five in his first three big league starts, yet here he is with a 2-0 record and a 0.92 ERA. He'll face Kershaw and the Dodgers on Thursday night. The Los Angeles lefty will try to extend his 36-inning scoreless streak.