St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was named the National League’s starting pitcher for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game on Monday morning by his manager Mike Matheny. In Matheny’s All-Star press conference, he said that there were lots of great pitchers in the National League, but none was more deserving than Wainwright. When asked why he chose Wainwright over his primary competition, Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw, Matheny said that he had the utmost respect for Kershaw, but chose Wainwright because of his leadership and performance.
Wainwright has a 12-4 record and a league-leading 1.83 ERA over 19 starts. He has three complete games, two of which have been shutouts, over 138 innings. He’s holding opposing hitters to a .201 batting average with an 0.91 WHIP. With Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto, who leads the NL in most of the stat categories not led by Wainwright, ineligible to pitch after starting Sunday, Wainwright is really the only sound logical option.
With that said, Kershaw has been absolutely dominant since the beginning of June and is probably the hottest pitcher in the majors heading into the break. In the 72.2 innings he’s thrown since June 1, he has an ERA of 0.62 and a WHIP of 0.58. Over those eight games, he’s gone 8-0 while going at least seven innings in all but one of them, throwing a no-hitter and three total complete games along the way.
But after missing the entire month of April and going 2-2 with a 4.08 ERA in the month of May, it’s difficult to justify giving the start to Kershaw over Wainwright, who has dominated for the entire season. So while some may see Wainwright getting the start as a biased decision on Matheny’s part, it was actually thhe choice that made the most sense.