“I think that for me, one of the big joys that I’ve seen is Clayton’s growth as a person,” Roberts said. “I think that having kids and, you know, as you get further along in your career, I think that he’s kind of embracing all the things that he’s been able to accomplish, because nothing is guaranteed moving forward. I think that you saw a little bit of gratitude from him, which is pretty cool to see.”
There was some doubt about whether Kershaw would be selected to the NL team given he missed a month with a back injury. To date, he has pitched 63 2/3 innings. But when healthy, Kershaw has been one of the best pitchers in the league.
Kershaw put a stamp on his first half resume on Saturday, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out 10 over 7 2/3 innings of work in a 4-2 win over the Cubs. With a 2.40 ERA in 11 starts, Kershaw earned his ninth career All-Star Game selection, which is the second most in franchise history behind Pee Wee Reese (10).
“I’m going to try and take it all in as best I can,” Kershaw said. “As the years go by, you start to appreciate things a little bit more, so every time I get to pitch at Dodger Stadium or every time we get a win, every time something significant happens, I try to take it in a little bit more because you never know when it’ll be the last time.
“It’s no different with this All-Star Game. I’m super excited about it. It really will be cool to do one at home. It’s a special place for me personally and to get to do that in front of the home crowd will be really cool.”
For the next week, the conversation will shift toward whether the future Hall of Famer should get the start at Dodger Stadium. Braves manager Brian Snitker will have to decide between names such as Sandy Alcantara, Max Fried, Gonsolin and Kershaw. Of the group, Alcantara has put together the best first half, at least by the numbers.
But Kershaw is the best left-handed pitcher of his generation and arguably the best pitcher in franchise history. He has accomplished just about everything in his illustrious career. The one thing missing is being able to say he started a Midsummer Classic. At 34, this could be Kershaw’s last chance to accomplish that.
With the game at Dodger Stadium, the only ballpark Kershaw has called home in his career, the left-hander has a valid case to start the game for the National League.
“I think that the All-Star Game is for the fans,” Roberts said. “There’s really no more prominent pitcher in Major League Baseball than Clayton Kershaw.”
Kershaw signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers back in March with a World Series in mind. He has said he’s taking his career one year at a time. In the process, Kershaw has learned to appreciate things more than he did at the beginning of his career. Part of that comes due to the uncertainty he faced this winter. He considered signing with the Rangers in order to stay in his Dallas-area home. But moments like an All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium will continue to make the journey all worth it for the future Hall of Famer.
“Maybe this time around I do understand a little bit more and I’m a little more excited,” Kershaw said. “I think also with how I get to share it with people. I think Charley, this is kind of the first year for him that he’s been really around the clubhouse and hanging out a little bit more. So for him to get to watch the Home Run Derby as a five-year-old, six-year-old, it will be really cool.”
Anderson entered Saturday 10-1 with a 2.96 ERA, which would be by far his career best.
As for Gonsolin, the 28-year-old has been one of the biggest surprises in the Majors this season. Gonsolin always had the stuff to be successful, but he lacked the command. This season, he has put it all together and has dominated hitters with one of the best splitter-slider combinations in the game.
Gonsolin, who is an All-Star for the first time in his career, leads the Majors with an 11-0 record. His 1.62 ERA also leads the Majors and is the fourth-lowest through 16 starts in Dodgers history, joining a group that includes Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and six-time All-Star Zack Greinke. Gonsolin hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his 16 starts.
“I set a goal this offseason coming in and one of my goals was to be an All-Star and today that happened,” Gonsolin said. “It’s nice to have it come around full circle.”