The Final Vote for the final All-Star slot on each team concluded at 4pm eastern today. If you were on Twitter it was impossible to avoid the hashtags. Clearly, it’s the best form of democracy we have to offer. Anyway, the winners are in: Michael Saunders of the Blue Jays and and Brandon Belt of the Giants.
Belt just edged out yesterday’s leader, Starling Marte, who finished second. Then came Trevor Story of the Rockies, Jake Lamb of the Diamondbacks and Ryan Braun of the Brewers who, shockingly, did not win a fan popularity contest. Didn’t see that one coming.
In the AL Saunders beat out George Springer of the Astros, Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, Ian Kinsler of the Tigers and Evan Longoria of the Rays.
So there’s your last All-Stars. At least until the next five guys get replaced for injuries and things.
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.