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All-Star Game

Dodgers All-Star Game profile: Clayton Kershaw

Photo: MLB

With five Dodgers players in the All-Star Game later Tuesday night in Cincinnati, I thought I'd take a quick look at each one, with their performance in the first 90 games of the season, plus All-Star history and trivia. We start with Clayton Kershaw, who amazingly was the last one of the five to secure a spot on the team.

What went right

Clayton Kershaw leads the majors with 160 strikeouts, striking out batters at an even higher rate (32.7 percent) than during his sublime 2014 (31.9 percent). Kershaw is also third in the majors in FIP (2.39), and first in xFIP (2.07) and SIERA (2.23).

He was 4-3 with a 1.53 ERA over his last nine starts, with 87 strikeouts and 11 walks in 64⅔ innings.

What went wrong

Kershaw's own body of work created unreal expectations, such that a 6-6 record and 2.85 ERA is considered a down year. Though to be fair most of the "What's wrong with Kershaw?" talk came during his first nine starts, when he was 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA.

He addressed the expectations on Sunday.

"People have high expectations for me, and rightfully so. I'm here for a long time and they're paying me a lot of money to be good, so I understand that and I welcome those expectations. If that means me being subpar or being average isn't good enough, then that's great," Kershaw said. "I try not to put too much stock into it, honestly. I expect a lot out of myself too which helps me not worry about everything else."

All-Star notes

This is the fifth consecutive All-Star selection for Kershaw, joining Sandy Koufax (1961-66) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981-86) as the only Dodgers pitchers with at least five consecutive trips to the midsummer classic.

Kershaw has pitched four scoreless innings in his four All-Star appearances, with two strikeouts. He had perfect outings in 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2012, Kershaw allowed two singles and a walk but escaped a bases-loaded jam. One of the "singles" was this gem:

Great American Ballpark

In five career starts in Cincinnati, Kershaw is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA, with 39 strikeouts and 13 walks in 33 innings.