Clayton Kershaw earned a seventh consecutive All-Star selection, but this year marked another where he would not start for the National League. Kershaw not only will not take the mound in the first inning, he won’t be seen at all in the All-Star Game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers started their ace on Sunday in their first half finale, which left him ineligible to pitch in the exhibition game in Miami. Not that it made a difference to Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, however, as he’d already decided on starting Washington Nationals righty Max Scherzer.
Even if he was able to pitch, Kershaw said last week he would likely give Scherzer the nod due to a superior first half of the 2017 season.
While speaking during media availability on Monday, Kershaw said he hoped to one day check the box of starting in an All-Star Game, according to Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“Usually the best one in the National League starts, and Max has done that,” Kershaw said. “If I ever get to be the best one in the National League for the first half, I would love to start.”
Kershaw’s biggest gripe arguably came in 2014 when St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tabbed Adam Wainwright the starter over that season’s eventual Cy Young and MVP Award winner.
This year, the difference between Kershaw and Scherzer is negligible. Scherzer went
10-5 with a 2.10 ERA, 2.62 FIP and 0.78 WHIP in 18 starts during the first half of the season.
His 35.5 percent strikeout rate would set a career high. Scherzer leads the Majors (qualified pitchers) in ERA, ranks second with 173 strikeouts and 128.1 innings pitched, and is tied for second with two complete games.
Kershaw went 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 0.88 WHIP through 19 starts this season. He’s third overall with 159 strikeouts and first with 132.1 innings. While he’s not participating, Kershaw is part of a 2017 Dodgers team that boasts six All-Stars, which is a first for the organization since 1991.