For the second year in a row, the All-Star Game will feature a starting pitching matchup of Chris Sale vs. Max Scherzer. The two were just announced at a press conference at Nationals Park.
This, in fact, will be Sale’s third straight start of the Midsummer Classic, as he faced off against Johnny Cueto of the National League in 2016. It’s Scherzer’s third start in an All-Star Game overall, as he got the starting nod for the American League back in 2013 against Matt Harvey.
Sale is 10-4 with a 2.23 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 188/31 in 129 inning pitched. He leads the American League in ERA, strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings pitched, with 13.1.
Scherzer is 12-5 with a 2.41 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 182/34 in 134.2 innings pitched. He leads the National League in wins, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, innings, batters faced, WHIP, hits per nine innings allowed and strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Because it’s the All-Star Game neither will notch a win, even if one could get a loss. Still, it’s a matchup of the two best pitchers going in 2018 and, with a tip of the cap to Clayton Kershaw, the two best starting pitchers of this era.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.