This year’s All-Star Game starting pitchers, Justin Verlander and Matt Cain, are certainly both big names with excellent track records, but it’s interesting to note that the honor of starting an All-Star Game doesn’t always go to elite pitchers.
Obviously any pitcher who starts an All-Star Game is by definition having an excellent season at the time–so please hold onto those angry comments and e-mails–but here’s a list of some All-Star Game starters during the past 20 years: Esteban Loaiza, Terry Mulholland, Brad Penny, Charles Nagy, Kenny Rogers, Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Back in 2006 the game featured a scintillating Kenny Rogers-Brad Penny matchup and following Roger Clemens’ start in 2001 the American League had a five-year run in which they started Derek Lowe, Esteban Loaiza, Mark Buehrle, Mark Mulder, and Kenny Rogers.
Verlander-Cain is pretty damn good.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.