Clayton Kershaw was clearly honored to take the ball and start the 2022 MLB All-Star Game in front of his home crowd at Dodger Stadium, but you could tell he let out a giant sigh of relief when it was over. Even for a guy as battle tested as Kershaw, those nerves were real.
In what was a remarkable gesture by Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker, Kershaw was able to start in his first ever ASG in his ninth appearance despite Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara boasting better stats thus far.
But there was no other opportunity to honor Kershaw on the back nine of his career with the Midsummer Classic returning to Chavez Ravine for the first time in 42 years. The fans needed this one for the history books.
Though Kershaw’s outing only lasting one inning, the buildup to his start and what transpired during it provided multiple memorable moments.
First up? The Dodger Stadium crowd giving him one heck of an ovation when his name was announced for the starting lineup.
Clayton Kershaw’s All-Star Game start at Dodger Stadium was a memorable one
Then, the left-hander made his way to the dugout as he waited to take the mound. In between, MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal got a hold of him and asked him a couple of pregame questions for the entire stadium to hear. Kershaw was clearly overtaken by the moment and revealed a funny gameplan as he prepared to face a fearsome top three in the AL lineup.
We’ll come back to this in a second.
Here’s Kersh taking the mound to yet another ovation and a moment that will live on in baseball history:
After Kershaw got settled, baseball reporter Tom Verducci caught up with the AL leadoff hitter, DH Shohei Ohtani, who answered the question he was asked in English (!!) before he took the batter’s box and did exactly what he said he was going to do.
And how about that — Kershaw’s pitch to Ohtani was actually 91 MPH, like he said in his answer to Rosenthal. Unreal.
After Ohtani’s single, Yankees star Aaron Judge came to the plate and Kershaw got two quick strikes on him before picking off Ohtani at first with this nifty move:
Judge then went down on strikes and the crowd was amped. After a walk to Red Sox slugger Rafael Devers, Kershaw got Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to ground out to teammate and shortstop Trea Turner to end the inning.
Seventeen pitches later, and Kershaw was home free. Now he can enjoy the rest of the evening from the dugout and soak it in without any pressure.
It also helps the NL lineup rocked Rays starter Shane McClanahan for two runs on four hits in the bottom half of the inning. Whatever happens for the rest of the game, this sequence will live on as an indelible mark in All-Star Game history.