Dodgers manager Don Mattingly thinks the pitcher with the majors’ lowest earned-run average deserves to start the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
His opinion, obvious as it may seem, isn’t shared by everyone. That might even include Clayton Kershaw, he of the 1.98 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 5.1 wins above replacement — all of which lead Major League Baseball.
“I don’t know why not,” Mattingly said. “I heard what he said about (New York Mets pitcher Matt) Harvey. That’s classy. That tells you a lot about Clayton. But I feel he’s good enough to be the guy.”
Kershaw told reporters last week that he has “no problem” with Harvey starting the game, which will be played at Harvey’s home park — Citi Field in New York.
Starting the All-Star Game is a ceremonial honor. Most All-Star pitchers will throw no more than one inning Tuesday, regardless of when they enter the game. For that reason alone, National League manager Bruce Bochy might have no problem siding with popular opinion. Bochy has yet to announce his starting pitcher.
Kershaw is the Dodgers’ only representative — for now.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who edged Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig in online voting for the final NL roster spot, won’t play in the game because of a jammed thumb. The National League roster features three first basemen besides Freeman, so it’s possible that Bochy could choose Puig, an outfielder, as the injury replacement.
Puig, however, was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day Sunday because of lingering pain in his hip. Puig collided with the outfield wall at Coors Field on July 3 and has been bothered by the injury since.
“I don’t care if he goes” to the All-Star Game, Mattingly said, “as long as he’s healthy.”
Though Mattingly said he would prefer not to use Puig in Sunday’s game against the Colorado Rockies, he didn’t rule out Puig coming off the bench as part of a double switch late in the game.