Expect ‘The Beard' to Close All-Star Game

As always at an All-Star Game, there are plenty of ace relievers that can play the role of closer when the final inning rolls around.

The National League roster in 2011 features Heath Bell (Padres), Tyler Clippard (Nationals), Joel Hanrahan (Pirates), Craig Kimbrel (Braves), Jonny Venters (Braves) and the Giants own Brian Wilson.

This could make it difficult for All-Star manager Bruce Bochy to plan on the later innings, but he said on Monday at his All-Star press conference that he's sticking with his original plan, and Wilson will likely be his closer for the midseason classic.

"I'm leaning toward Brian Wilson," Bochy said when asked at his press conference about who would close for the National League.

And really, that's how it should be. There's an argument that Kimbrel or Bell are better options because they're hotter right now and/or more strikeout-based, but there's also a few really good reasons (especially for Giants fans) why Bochy should roll with Wilson.

First, he's his guy. You want your guy -- and, yeah, the same one who closed out the whole way to a world title -- on the mound at a big time.

Secondly, you definitely want your guy on the mound if it could eventually affect whether or not you get home-field advantage for the World Series.

Thirdly, not doing so is a direct shot at Wilson's ability to close and could probably rough up his confidence.

And finally, getting Wilson on the mound in the national spotlight and having him shut down the best hitters in the American League might be the exact thing to get his confidence rolling again, following a pair of shaky outings heading into the break.

Plus, like Bochy's going to let a Padre close this puppy out? Come on.

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