Heading into tomorrow night’s All Star game, it was pretty much commonsense that either Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer was going to start for the National League. So when Kershaw made himself ineligible to pitch in the game by throwing a complete game against the Royals on Sunday, everyone simply assumed that Scherzer would be getting the nod.
That assumption turned out to be correct as the NL manager Joe Maddon announced that the Nationals’ right hander would be starting during a press conference televised on the MLB Network. Maddon even pointed out that he would have gone with Scherzer even if Kershaw was available to pitch.
“I looked at it pretty closely,” Maddon said. “I have a ton of respect for Mr. Kershaw also. But if you just broke down the numbers, I am being honest, I had already chosen Max, based on what I had just read numerically.”
The way Scherzer has been dominating so far this season, it shouldn’t be surprising that his 2.10 ERA and 173 strikeouts over 128.1 innings lead the NL at the All-Star break. While he’s averaging over a strike out per inning, he has a MLB best 0.78 WHIP and a record of 10-5 so far this season.
When speaking at a press conference on the MLB Network, Scherzer appeared very humbled to be selected as the starting pitcher.
“It’s unbelievable to get the nod,” Scherzer said. “This is such an incredible accomplishment. When you walk in this clubhouse and you’re with all the All-Stars, you’re tickled to be in that clubhouse with that recognition. When you have a manager say, ‘We’re going to give you the ball,’ it’s icing on the cake. For me to have the opportunity to go out there and represent the National League, this is stuff you never forget. And when you get the opportunity – I’m kicking at the dirt to be able to go out there and pitch.”
This isn’t the first time that Scherzer has be named the starting pitcher for the All Star game. Back in 2013, he represented the Detroit Tigers and started the game up at Citi Field in New York. His start also means that the Washington Nationals will have four players starting for the National League. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman, after all, will join him in the starting lineup and Stephen Strasburg will also be making the trip.
Also announced today was the batting lineup for the NL, which will be as follows:
CF Charlie Blackmon
DH Giancarlo Stanton
RF Bryce Harper
C Buster Posey
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Nolan Arenado
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Marcell Ozuna
SS Zack Cozart