It wasn’t an easy process, and it certainly wasn’t the means by which he should’ve named a 2015 All-Star, but the national travesty of preventing Clayton Kershaw from joining his peers in Cincinnati for the Midsummer Classic finally came to an end Sunday.
With Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer taking the mound for his club’s first-half finale, Kershaw was added to the National League roster as Scherzer’s replacement. Yes, the reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award made it to the All-Star Game by the skin of his teeth.
Although there was plenty of uproar with Kershaw not being named an NL All-Star as the voting process continued to unfold, he holds no qualms or shame for making the game as a replacement, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
No. I’ve said it before – I have no pride in how I get there,” he said. “You get to go to the All-Star Game. I don’t care if I was the batboy as long as I get to make it there. It’s a special time. When you look back on all this, no one will remember that you were the replacement of a replacement that didn’t win the fan vote. You get to go, spend time and enjoy it.”
Kershaw’s selection to the All-Star Game, the 86th in MLB history, is his fifth consecutive. He joins Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela as Dodgers pitchers who have made the Midsummer Classic five consecutive times; Koufax’s and Valenzuela’s streaks reached six consecutive selections.
Upon losing the final vote to St. Louis Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, the Dodgers’ left-hander admitted to being disappointed. It can be presumed Kershaw’s 6-6 record negatively impacted the prospect of him being named to the NL roster at an early stage.
Further examination of Kershaw’s productions through the first half of the 2015 season should state his case, however. He leads the Majors with 160 strikeouts and an 11.7 strikeout-per-nine innings ratio, lowered his ERA to 2.85, and owns a 2.39 FIP, which ranks third in baseball.
Additionally, Kershaw’s 2.07 xFIP is first overall and his 3.7 WAR is fourth-best among all pitchers. The Dodgers have five players in the All-Star Game since 1995 when Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, Jose Offerman, Mike Piazza and Todd Worrell represented Los Angeles; Piazza and Nomo were starters that year.