NEW YORK — In this ancestral homeland of the Dodgers and Giants, a century-old baseball feud flared anew.
In the blue corner, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. In the orange corner, San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy.
No punches were thrown, just words, not all of them well-chosen.
The All-Star game will be Tuesday at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Matt Harvey, the ace of the Mets and one of the best pitchers in baseball, will start for the National League.
“I get it,” Kershaw said.
Kershaw leads the major leagues with a 1.98 earned-run average. After a news conference Monday to announce the starting lineups, Bochy said he considered Kershaw and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals before selecting Harvey.
“Harvey had a great first half,” Bochy, the NL manager, told The Times and San Francisco Chronicle. “This is Citi Field. It’s great for baseball and great for the fans of this club that he is the guy. He is very well-deserving of this honor.
“Kershaw, Wainwright, all of those guys were candidates. I just think we’ve got the perfect guy, with the year he’s had, and he plays for the Mets.”
That would have been that, with nary an ill feeling, had Bochy not said during the news conference that Harvey would have merited the start even if the game weren’t being played in New York.
“That’s his opinion,” Kershaw said, curtly.
And how did Kershaw learn he would not start?
“I found out on TV,” he said.
Kershaw, 25, is on pace to become the first player since Greg Maddux to lead the major leagues in ERA for three consecutive years. Maddux did it in 1993-95, for the Atlanta Braves.
Kershaw, who has a record of 8-6, leads the league in ERA, shutouts (two), fewest hits per nine innings (6.0), and fewest hits and walks per inning (0.9).
Harvey, 24, in his first full season, is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA. He leads the league in strikeouts.
“It wouldn’t have mattered what city we were playing in with the year he’s had,” Bochy said.
In omitting Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig from the All-Star team, Bochy explained that he could not justify picking a player who had three great weeks over one who had three great months.
Harvey did start 10 games for the Mets in the second half last season. However, by bypassing Kershaw, Bochy in essence picked a pitcher who had three great months over one who had three great years.
Not that Kershaw needs any motivation against the Giants. He has dominated the Giants like no other NL team, with an 11-4 record and 1.32 ERA in 21 appearances against them.
Although Bochy snubbed Kershaw for the start and excluded Puig from the roster, he did select Puig as one of five finalists for the “Final Vote” balloting, in which Freddie Freeman of the Braves beat out Puig.
“He was on the ballot,” Bochy said of Puig. “He had a chance.”
Bochy laughed off a suggestion that his All-Star choices had sent his popularity plummeting among Dodgers fans.
“I don’t think I was that popular in the first place,” he said.