For at least the past three seasons Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has reigned as the best pitcher in baseball. In reality, Kershaw’s dominance dates back to 2011 when he won his first of three National League Cy Young Awards.
The 2011 season was also the first time Kershaw was named to the NL roster for the All-Star Game. He finished the year 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, five complete games and 248 strikeouts.
Kershaw, as he’s now routinely done, led the Majors in several key categories that year. While the left-hander has continued to add to his accomplishments, one that’s regularly escaped him is starting in the annual Midsummer Classic.
Given the dominant season he was in the midst of, Kershaw appeared to be a favorite to change that in 2016. However, he’s unavailable due to a mild disc herniation that required a stint on the disabled list; from which he’s said to be making a quick recovery.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, New York Mets manager Terry Collins intended to start Kershaw in this year’s All-Star Game:
New York Mets Manager Terry Collins, the manager of the National League team, said Monday that he would have selected Kershaw to start had he been healthy. “He deserved it,” Collins told The Times.
Collins explained he arrived at that decision after having a conversation with Kershaw when the Dodgers and Mets played in May:
“How many All-Star games have you started?” Collins said.
“None,” Kershaw said.
“‘You won three Cy Youngs and you haven’t started a stinking All-Star game?” Collins said.
“No,” Kershaw said.
Collins said he walked away with this thought in his head: “We’re going to change that.”
Since Kershaw’s first All-Star Game bid, he’s been passed over by Roy Halladay (2011), Matt Cain (2012), then-rookie Matt Harvey (2013), Adam Wainwright (2014) and former teammate Zack Greinke (2015).
Kershaw’s strongest cases to start the Midsummer Classic were in 2013 and 2014. In the first instance, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy elected to give Harvey the ball in his home stadium. St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then went with his ace the following year.