For the second consecutive year, Clayton Kershaw was passed over in consideration to start for the National League in the All-Star Game.
In 2012 it was San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy going with the hometown storyline in New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey. This season, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went with someone he’s quite familiar with — Adam Wainwright.
Both decisions are understandable, though it’s difficult to argue either pitcher is more deserving than Kershaw. When asked of Matheny’s decision, the Dodger ace downplayed the situation, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I didn’t have a reaction. I kind of assumed. Adam had the best first half and Mike was his manager,” Kershaw said. “You’re going to pick your guy. So, I completely understand.”
In the same conversation Kershaw also acknowledged he would gladly have taken the mound to start if asked:
If they had asked me if I wanted to do it, I would have said, ‘Of course, I want to do it. That’d be awesome.’ But it’s not something that’s on my bucket list. Every year, there’s just been somebody better in the first half, so that’s the way it works.”
Kershaw’s first half didn’t include as many starts as Wainwright’s due to being placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his upper back. However, Kershaw used all of June and thus far part of July to make up for lost time.
Dating back to his first start in June, Kershaw is 8-0 with a 0.74 ERA. Overall, he’s 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA — compared to Wainwright’s 12-4 record and 1.83 ERA.
Kershaw, who has been regarded as the best pitcher in baseball over recent years and won two Cy Young awards, said he would gladly trade those personal awards for World Series rings:
“I don’t know what Adam would say, but he’s won two World Series. I would trade Cy Youngs for World Series any day of the week.”
The left-hander has certainly done his part in helping put the Dodgers in position for another postseason run and though he isn’t starting Tuesday, a win for the NL would mean home field advantage for the Dodgers if they reach the World Series.
That of course may also lead to Kershaw at last making an All-Star Game start in 2015.
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