NEW YORK -- Life is good for Matt Harvey.
In addition to posing recently for ESPN the Magazine's body issue and reportedly dating a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Harvey, 24, the New York Mets ace, will start the All-Star Game tonight for the National League at Citi Field, his home ballpark.
"It really wouldn't have mattered what city we were playing in, with the year that he's had and the impressive numbers that he's put up," NL manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants said. "He would have been the starting pitcher."
In right-handed Harvey's second major league season, he leads the NL with 147 strikeouts in 130 innings and has a 2.35 ERA.
"I came up and obviously wanted to do everything I could to fill in for R.A. Dickey, who had a tremendous season last year," Harvey said. "We knew him not being with us, it was going to take a lot, and someone would need to step in. It was a role I wanted to take and something I took pride in and having this opportunity and getting the nod is one step closer."
Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer, who has a 13-1 record this season, will start for the American League in his first All-Star appearance.
"To get the nod and get the ball over so many great pitchers, we go throughout the season and we see so many guys who absolutely deal," Scherzer said. "And for the skipper to give me the nod over those guys, it just means so much to me."
Scherzer's 152 strikeouts ranked second in baseball behind the Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish.
"Thirteen-and-one Max Scherzer, and I don't think I have to explain any more than that," AL manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers said.
Leyland will have Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels' five-tool dynamo, lead off. He followed with some power: Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Jose Bautista and David Ortiz.
"Even I can't mess that one up, I don't think," Leyland said. "You just sit down and we put Trout up front obviously with some speed and we bunched a power guys together to see how that plays out. A little bit of lefty-righty, I don't think that makes a lot of difference in this game."
The NL lineup has a strong Reds presence. Brandon Phillips will lead off and Joey Votto will hit third. David Wright, playing on his home field, will bat fourth
"If you're the captain of the Home Run Derby, you need to hit cleanup," Bochy said.
Rivera definitely will pitch
Whether the AL has a lead or not, Leyland said New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, 43, will pitch in his 13th and final All-Star Game.
"You can rest assured that he will be on the mound in this game at some point," Leyland said. "You will see him pitch. Whether it be to a hitter, an inning, depending on how the game goes, obviously, if something happens. You will see No. 42 pitch."
Rivera's 638 saves are the most in the history. He will retire after this season.
"Statistically, he's going to be the greatest of all time, for sure," Pirates closer Jason Grilli said. "For people who get to watch him every day, I'm sure they get to have that ease of saying, "Yeah, the ballgame's over." That's just what his teammates got to do, see that this ballgame is over when he comes in."
Pirates setup Mark Melancon shared a bullpen with Rivera in 2009-10 and said Rivera's mental preparation was just as impressive as his cutter.
"He's constantly trying to learn, paying attention to every pitch," Melancon said.
"How he gets ready to go into the game mentally more so than physically."pirates - homepagetabs
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.