Clayton Kershaw was named to his third straight All-Star team on Sunday, then pitched eight innings of one-run ball in a win over the Giants, giving manager Bruce Bochy another piece of evidence that he should start for the National League on July 16 in New York.
But Kershaw himself has conceded that Matt Harvey, in his home park, should start the All-Star Game, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
"There’s no reason, especially if it’s in New York, that he shouldn’t start. That’s what the fans will want. I’ve got no problem with that," Kershaw told Rosenthal.
Harvey is 7-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 123 innings and leads the National League with 141 strikeouts. Kershaw is 8-5 with 129 strikeouts, and leads the majors with a 1.89 ERA and 138⅓ innings. Harvey has the edge over Kershaw in both FIP (2.09 to 2.62) and xFIP (2.67 to 3.24).
Adam Wainwright has a great case as well to start for the NL, at 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA, 2.16 FIP, 2.76 xFIP, 117 strikeouts and just 13 walks. But Wainwright is slated to start on Sunday and likely won't pitch in the All-Star Game.
But all of these numbers ignore the second half of 2012 as well. If All-Star teams were truly selected by hot first halves only, more than two months of every season wouldn't matter. Here are the numbers for Kershaw and Harvey since the 2012 All-Star break:
Kershaw: 34 starts, 245⅓ innings, 16-9, 1.98 ERA, 239 strikeouts, 65 walks, 12 home runs allowed
Harvey: 28 starts, 182⅓ innings, 10-7, 2.42 ERA, 211 strikeouts, 53 walks, 11 home runs allowed
Taking nothing away from Harvey, who has been fantastic, the numbers and the track record would seem to favor Kershaw. But it's not always about the numbers. The All-Star Game is a spectacle and a show, and the Dodgers will likely benefit from that standpoint if Yasiel Puig wins the Final Vote based on just five weeks in the majors.
Puig is an exciting player and the All-Star Game would be better with him involved. Just like having Harvey start the game on the mound in front of his home fans would make for a compelling moment.
Kershaw seems to be okay with Harvey starting. We should be too.