On Tuesday, longtime Los Angeles Dodgers ace and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw became the 13th pitcher in history to start an MLB All-Star Game at his home park.
However, many felt the Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcántara was more deserving of the honor to start the 92nd Midsummer Classic.
While both pitchers have had great seasons, the Marlins’ right-hander leads all pitchers in innings with 138.1 while posting a 1.76 ERA and 4.0 wins above replacement.
Despite Alcántara’s case to start the game, he had a “good” conversation with Kershaw and respected National League manager Brian Snitker’s decision to give Kershaw the ball at Dodger Stadium.
“I told him, ‘You deserve it. Just go there and compete,'” Alcántara said. “I’m happy because he had a great game.”
Kershaw was also among those who felt Alcántara was the top choice to start the All-Star Game, but he was still humbled by the decision to get the ball and appreciated the opportunity.
“It’s a huge honor,” Kershaw said of the start. “But at the same time, you know the All-Star Game is the best of the best of the first half. Sandy had an incredible first half and he deserves it.
“I’m glad he got to pitch and I’m glad he did a great job. We all know that he’s the best pitcher on the planet right now, and it meant a little more to me being here. I was appreciative of Snit and Sandy and everybody that just allowed me to do this.”
Alcántara also said it “means a lot” to hear Kershaw called him the best pitcher on the planet and added they had fun together during the game.
Alcántara entered the game in the second inning and like Kershaw, worked a scoreless frame. Kershaw gave up one hit and one walk but added a strikeout and picked off Shohei Ohtani while Alcántara threw a perfect inning with two strikeouts.
Despite the NL taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning, they went on to lose their ninth consecutive game against the American League.
Kershaw called Alcántara after hearing he was named All-Star Game starter
Kershaw found out he would be starting for the NL when Snitker called him on Sunday. He then called Alcántara after learning of the news.
“I talked to him [Monday], but I called him when Snit called me and I found out I got the start,” Kershaw said. “I talked to him. He was awesome about it and I was really thankful about that.”
During the call, Alcántara shared his support for Kershaw starting the game.
“He told me that the manager called him and that they need him to start the game,” Alcántara recalled. “I said, ‘OK, go ahead. You deserve it.’”
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