Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw preparing for All-Star first he’s pretty sure he doesn’t deserve

“I probably shouldn’t even be here, honestly,” Kershaw said before taking in the Home Run Derby.

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Clayton Kershaw and Dodgers teammate Tyler Anderson got in some laughs before the Home Run Derby.

Clayton Kershaw and Dodgers teammate Tyler Anderson got in some laughs before the Home Run Derby.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — So here’s what we have at this celebration of baseball’s greatest stars: one starting pitcher who’s not good enough to be here, one starting pitcher whose manager has never seen him play and one other guy — perhaps you’ve heard of Shohei Ohtani — who isn’t going to toe the rubber at Dodger Stadium at all.

Hey, Tuesday’s All-Star Game will still be a blast.

But National League starter Clayton Kershaw, 7-2 with a 2.14 ERA, feels kind of bad about making his first career All-Star start even though it’s his ninth All-Star go-round, he’s one of the top players of his generation, he’s a first-ballot shoo-in for the Hall of Fame and the game is in his own backyard.

“It’s hard,” he said, naming the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara, the Braves’ Max Fried and Dodgers teammate Tony Gonsolin as pitchers who “have better numbers than I do.”

“I probably shouldn’t even be here, honestly,” Kershaw said.

At least everybody knows who he is. American League manager Dusty Baker admitted he’ll be watching his starter, Rays lefty Shane McClanahan, pitch for the first time.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to told me that he is nasty,” Baker said.

And Angels megastar Ohtani? He’d have gotten a second straight All-Star start on the mound if he wanted it, but he didn’t. The greatest two-way player since Babe Ruth will lead off as designated hitter but, alas, won’t pitch at all.

There it goes!

Your 2022 Home Run Derby champion: young Nationals slugger Juan Soto.

He’d be a good addition to any team, wouldn’t he? Anybody have $500 million laying around?

Soto, 23, topped Mariners rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez, with his 19th homer of the final round.

Catching up with Schwarbs

Ex-Cub Kyle Schwarber didn’t make it past the first round of the Derby — losing to fan favorite Albert Pujols in a real surprise — but Schwarber is an All-Star and a happy one at that, having signed a four-year, $79 million contract with the Phillies before the season.

“It’s great. It’s awesome, man,” he said. “I’m very happy to be where I’m at. Philadelphia has been a great city, a great fan base, great team.”

But definitely not the best team Schwarber has played on. Those 2016 heroes, they’re just about all gone.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said, “but it could be the best thing that ever happens to you, if you’re moving on.

“And to have that time that we all had there together, [we’re] all going to be bonded forever and nobody can take that away from us.”

This and that

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras will bat sixth in the NL lineup, one spot ahead of brother William Contreras (Braves), who will DH. Will Contreras be able to control his emotions?

Put teammate Ian Happ in the “no” camp.

“Willson’s going to have a lot of tears,” Happ warned.

• Happ and All-Star reliever David Bednar were 8-year-old teammates on a coach-pitch team in Pittsburgh. How about that?

“Nuts,” Happ called it.

• Sunny skies will give pitchers an early advantage because of shadows around home plate, Baker and Kershaw predicted. Then again, if it’s overcast, not so much.

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