There was only one problem. In the clubhouse earlier in the day, Kershaw had just smiled and shrugged. The final All-Star from each league had been announced.
"I didn't win the vote," Kershaw said.
Kershaw is the reigning most valuable player in the
He is on the team with the highest payroll and attendance in the second-biggest media market in the country. He is seventh-best in the National League in walks and hits allowed per inning, third in innings pitched and first in strikeouts.
And he is in the commercial for the All-Star game — more than once.
But he is not an All-Star, at least not one of the 35 players either voted in by fans or selected by
Kershaw actually finished third among five players on the final ballot, behind pitcher
There remains the hope that Kershaw could be selected to replace a pitcher who bows out because of injury or because he isn't available to pitch. That happens regularly before All-Star games.
"I'm not even really thinking about that," Kershaw said. "So, yeah."
Earlier this week, the Dodgers had rallied behind Kershaw. Catcher A.J. Ellis called him "the best pitcher on the planet."
Zack Greinke said, "His peripheral numbers are probably the best in the game."
His support was not limited to the team, either. Also this week,
But that was not enough to convince the electorate. Kershaw's vote map, provided by MLB, looked like that of a failed Democratic presidential candidate. He carried the West Coast and New England (and Canada too). But he did not get enough support from the center of the country.
Instead, the winner was Martinez. whose biggest advantage over Kershaw was his record. He is 10-3 with a 2.52 earned-run average and 113 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings.
Kershaw, by comparison, is just 6-6, but sports a 2.85 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 123 innings. He experienced a bumpy start, when he went 2-3 with a 4.32 ERA in his first nine outings.
Since then, Kershaw has looked more like his old self. From May 26 on, he has a 1.53 ERA and 87 strikeouts in nine starts. His last start, on Wednesday, provided a convincing closing argument. He pitched a shutout against the Phillies that included 13 strikeouts.
Was his finish enough to earn him a bid?
"It's not up for me to decide," Kershaw said. "I don't have to make that one. It doesn't matter what I think."
On the American League ballot, Moustakas, who is batting .301 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs, beat out Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier, Detroit outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Other reigning MVPs and Cy Young Award winners have missed the All-Star game. In 1993, the year after Oakland's Dennis Eckersley won both awards, he missed out on the game. The last MVP to miss the following year's All-Star game was Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins in 2008. (In fact, Rollins, now the Dodgers' shortstop, also missed the All-Star game in '07, despite having a season that would earn him the
Now, Kershaw will have to wait to see if he is called as a replacement.
"I think he's spoiling people," Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "He's still leading the league in strikeouts. His ERA is under three. You look at the numbers, and he's still there. Just watch this month and last month. Take the first month out. He's Kershaw, the same guy who won the MVP last year."