Mike Trout will carry the memory of his fallen teammate Tyler Skaggs both in his heart and on his back on Tuesday night at the MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland.
The Los Angeles Angels perennial All-Star will wear Skaggs’ No. 45 in the game in memory of the former starting pitcher, who was found dead earlier this month at the age of 27. Tommy La Stella is missing the game due to injury, but will also wear the number in the American League dugout during the game at Progressive Field.
“We thought it would be a good way to show some love and respect for Tyler,” Trout said. “That’s going to be fun for me, it’s gonna be good for him, good for his family. And I know he is looking out over us tonight. It’s gonna be good.”
Other players have the option of wear patches with the No. 45 to honor Skaggs. The MLB held a moment of silence for Skaggs before the game.
“It’s gonna be I’m sure a very emotional night for all of us,” La Stella said before the game. “I don’t really know what to say, honestly. I don’t know what to expect. It’s one of those things that’s not gonna be easy but it’ll be right to have him with us in that way.”
Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1. A cause of death has not yet been released for Skaggs. The Southlake Police Department said it did not suspect foul play or suicide in his death.
The All-Star game is set to get underway at 7:30 p.m. ET from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Mike Trout is MLB All-Star Game MVP Frontrunner
FanDuel Sportsbook currently has Trout — who won the award in 2014 and ‘15 — installed as the favorite at +950, with the next closest player being MLB home run leader Christian Yelich at +1100 and Dodgers star Cody Bellinger close behind at +1200. Defending All-Star game MVP Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros is listed at +2000.
The American League, which has won the last six consecutive All-Star games, is installed as a -116 favorite. The total for the game is set a 8.5. The game has only gone over that number three times since 2008.
Eight-time All-Star and Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will draw the start for the American League, having posted a 10-4 record and 2.98 ERA this season. For the National League, it will be the Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu on the hill, who boasts a 10-2 record and an MLB-leading 1.73 ERA.
What’s on the Line at the MLB All-Star Game
Other than pride and a bit of extra cash, there’s nothing at stake in the Midsummer Classic. However, that hasn’t always been the case.
From 2003-2016 the All-Star game was used as a mechanism to decide home field in the World Series. The MLB implemented the move following the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee that ended in a 7-7, 11-inning tie. Both teams ran out of pitchers. Then commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB introduced the “This Time It Counts” slogan for the 2003 edition of the All-Star game.
“This energizes it. This gives them something to really play for,” Selig said after owners approved the change by a unanimous vote in 2003. “People pay a lot of money to see that game. They deserve to see the same intensity they see all year long. Television people pay a lot of money for the game. It was not and should not be a meaningless exhibition game.”
The American League won 11 of 14 All-Star Games that determined home-field advantage before it was changed in the latest CBA.