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MLB

Who are the starting pitchers for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game?

The MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles will feature the best talent in baseball, with two of its greatest pitchers this year opening the game from the mound.

Update:
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 18:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shane McClanahan #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays pose for a photo after the All-Star Press Conference at Dodger Stadium on Monday, July 18, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Rob TringaliGetty

There’s a feeling of change to this year’s MLB All-Star Game, which will take place in the magnificent field of Dodger Stadium. This feeling will be stronger than ever when each of the starting pitchers take the mound, with veteran local superstar Clayton Kershaw opening for the National League team and sophomore Rays’ wunderkid Shane McClanahan the chosen ace of the American League.

Clayton Kershaw, the legend nearing the end of the road

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace got to test free agency this offseason with rumors swirling about a possible return to his Texas homeland via the Rangers, but he came back to the Dodgers once again. Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young winner, has spent his whole career with the Angelenos, posting well above average ERA+ figures every year since his rookie season a decade and a half ago. He won his first World Series in the shortened 2020 season after years of playoff disappointments, but injuries prevented him from helping the Dodgers go back-to-back last season.

This will be Kershaw’s first time as the starter in an All-Star Game as Braves manager Brian Snitker chose him over Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara, the current favorite for the NL Cy Young. The 34-year-old Texan no longer reaches elite velocity with his 4-seamer, so Kershaw has started relying more and more on his secondary pitches in recent seasons as a way to maintain his success, and it’s worked for him as he boasts a 7-2 record with a 2.13 ERA so far this year.

Kershaw's pitch mix through the years
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Kershaw's pitch mix through the years

“It means a lot,” Kershaw said to ESPN, “it means a lot to my family, we are excited.” He will face three of the best hitters in the league to start his outing, with Ohtani, Judge and Devers all lined up against him, which prompted him to add, “hopefully I don’t screw it up too bad.”

Shane McClanahan, the prodigy in a team full of them

McClanahan has only pitched for one and a half seasons so far. He was not a top ranked prospect when he came up to the league, there was even another pitcher called Shane ahead of him on his team’s farm system, Shane Baz. He plays for the Tampa Bay Rays, a team full of excellent pitchers where the system shines over any individual talent. The AL All-Star Game manager does not even know who he is (check out the tweet below), but Shane MacClanahan is just too good to be ignored, as his play has made everyone turn their heads even earlier than expected.

McClanahan has a 1.71 ERA, leading his league, in over 110 innings, almost matching his total from last season. He throws four pitches consistently, each one of them over 15% of the time, and they are all above average. His curveball and changeup are both elite, and when he can combine them with his slider and his fastball no hitter knows what to expect. He will need all of his weapons in the All-Star Game as he faces one superstar after another in Acuña, Betts and Machado.

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