LOS ANGELES — The first All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in 42 years will have Los Angeles’ favorite son on the mound to start the game. Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher of his generation and an All-Star for the ninth time, was named the starting pitcher for the National League in the midsummer classic for the first time in his career.
Kershaw is the 13th different Dodgers pitcher to start an All-Star Game, and the first since Hyun-jin Ryu in 2019 in Cleveland. Don Drysdale is the only Dodgers pitcher to start multiple All-Star Games, doing so five times.
“I’m so excited I get to do it here at Dodger Stadium. It means a lot. It means a lot to my family,” Kershaw said at Monday’s introductory press conference. “Hopefully I don’t screw it up too bad.”
At 34 years, 122 days old on Tuesday, Kershaw will be the oldest Dodgers pitcher to start an All-Star Game, almost a year older than Whit Wyatt in 1941.
While on the mound this season, Kershaw has been great, but was sidelined for a month with a lower back injury, limiting him to just 12 starts. Among National League pitchers with at least 70 innings, Kershaw leads the NL in xERA (2.37), ranks third in ERA (2.13) and FIP (2.47), fourth in SIERA (2.97), fourth in strikeout-minus-walk rate (22.9 percent), second in walk rate (4.4 percent), and fourth in WHIP (0.907).
Kershaw ended his first half with three straight dominant outings, including taking a perfect game into the eighth inning on Saturday in Anaheim.
There were close calls for Kershaw to start previous All-Star Games, though he was passed over in favor of Matt Harvey (at home, in New York) in 2013 and Adam Wainwright in 2014. In 2016, Kershaw had another sub-2.00 ERA going but landed on the injured list two weeks before the game.
Now Kershaw’s on the other end of the spectrum, with the Marlins’ Sandy Alcántara having a tremendous season clearly worthy of starting for the National League. Alcántara leads the league in ERA (1.76) and innings pitched (138⅓), the latter 11⅔ more than any other pitcher.
But for this All-Star Game, at Dodger Stadium, he takes a back seat to Kershaw, the legend still having an incredible season in his own right.
Kershaw will now get his moment in the sun, or perhaps more appropriately under the lights, in his home park.