So maybe you’re thinking Clayton Kershaw must be having some kind of horrible season to be left off this year’s team. He wasn’t one of the five starting pitchers voted on by the players, or one of the two starters added by Manager Bruce Bochy.
But Kershaw happens to lead the league in strikeouts. He’s tied for second in quality starts, eighth in WHIP and opponent’s batting average, and easily first in strikeouts per nine innings.
And it wasn’t good enough.
The biggest problem was apparently his won-loss record, which is a very un-Kershaw-like 5-6. His ERA is slightly high at 3.08, but probably only looks so compared to the sub-2.00 mark he’s had the past two seasons.
No, it has to be that won-loss record, which is kind of curious. We’re supposed to be in this enlightened baseball period where won-loss records are not held in the same kind of esteem from years past. All flush with knowledge of how serendipitous that final decision can be.
Traditional baseball writers supposedly enjoyed a watershed moment in 2010 when Seattle’s Felix Hernandez won the American League Cy Young award despite a 13-12 record (David Price was 19-6 and CC Sabathia 21-7). All his other numbers were superior and he won easily.
But the players and Bochy seem a little late to this progressive way of thinking, so Kershaw was relegated to the “Final Vote,” where the last player is voted in by the fans. He’s up against the Reds’ Johnny Cueto, the Mets' Jeurys Familia, the Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez and the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki.
Unless one of the current pitchers has to be replaced, this is now Kershaw’s only option for making the team. Seems a bit crazy.
“I voted for him,” said Zack Greinke. “His peripheral numbers are probably the best in the game.”
Kershaw is not one of those guys who would rather pass on the whole All-Star game shebang and spend the four days at home. He wants to be a part of it.
“You always want to go,” Kershaw said. “It’s definitely a huge honor to get to go.”
Getting voted in for that 34th spot is a real crapshoot. There is no guarantee the most deserving player will go. And despite the Dodgers’ great attendance, they have never excelled at getting out the vote for the All-Star teams.
And there is precious little time. Voting will be completed by 1 p.m. on Friday. You can vote here.
But that’s what it’s come down to in 2015, apparently the year when won-loss records are still deemed pretty important after all.