Dodgers ace Kershaw to start ASG at home park

    ESPN MLB insider
    Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

Los Angeles Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw’s first All-Star Game start will be a home game.

Kershaw, the longtime Dodgers ace, was named as the starting pitcher for the National League and will face Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Shane McClanahan in the 92nd Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

“It means a lot,” Kershaw said. “It means a lot to my family. We’re excited.

“Hopefully,” he added, “I don’t screw it up too bad.”

NL manager Brian Snitker chose Kershaw, a nine-time All-Star, over Miami Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara, the best pitcher in the first half of the season.

“It was a tough decision,” Snitker said, “[but] we are here in Los Angeles, home of the Dodgers.”

Kershaw’s first pitch will be to Shohei Ohtani, the American League starter at designated hitter whom AL manager Dusty Baker said he thought about starting on the mound as well.

“There was consideration,” Baker said, “but from the information we received from Ohtani’s camp was that he probably shouldn’t or wouldn’t start. That’s why we chose Shane.”

When asked whether Ohtani would pitch at all, Baker said: “You’ve got to ask them some of these questions.”

Instead, Baker chose McClanahan, about whom he said: “To tell you the truth, I’ve never seen him pitch.” Baker has seen McClanahan pitch, in the 2020 AL Championship Series, but it wasn’t a particularly memorable outing, as he allowed three runs in 1.2 innings of relief.

He’ll face Ronald Acuña Jr., Mookie Betts and Manny Machado, who top the NL lineup. Paul Goldschmidt will hit cleanup and Trea Turner will bat fifth, with the Contreras brothers — Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and Braves DH William Contreras — batting sixth and seventh. Joc Pederson and Jeff McNeil round out Snitker’s lineup.

After Ohtani is his co-favorite for AL MVP, Aaron Judge, followed by Rafael Devers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Giancarlo Stanton. Byron Buxton, filling in for the injured Mike Trout, will hit sixth, in front of Tim Anderson, Andrés Giménez and Alejandro Kirk.

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