ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shane McClanahan has become only the second Tampa Bay Rays pitcher to earn starting honors for the All-Star Game, following David Price in 2010.
McClanahan, a former USF pitcher, has the statistics to prove he has one of the game’s best pitchers this season.
“He’s deserving, but to tell you the truth, I’ve never seen him pitch,” American League manager Dusty Baker said. “We didn’t play him at all this year, but everyone I’ve talked to tells me he is nasty. He is my choice through talking to others. I’m excited to see him pitch except when he pitches against us in September.”
McClanahan is 10-3 this season, with a Majors-best 1.71 earned run average and 147 strikeouts (second-most).
“There are so many deserving guys that had a heck of a year so far in the American League,” McClanahan said. “To even be in consideration for this is truly just an honor. I am very excited to take the ball and have Dusty see me pitch for the first time.”
With the game being played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Baker said there was consideration to have Los Angeles Angles two-way start Shohei Ohtani make the start.
“The information we received from Ohtani’s camp is that he probably or wouldn’t start,” Baker said. “That’s why we chose Shane.”
McClanahan is the Rays’ lone representative in the 92nd Midsummer Classic. But, he makes the pitch for other teammates that are “very deserving.”
“Yandy Diaz, the guy is batting .300; he’s second in the league in on-base percentage,” McClanahan said. “Harold Ramirez, the guy is batting .330; Jason Adam is having a heck of a year. I feel like those guys are very deserving. I feel like they should be here.”
McClanahan’s childhood idol, Dodgers-great Clayton Kershaw, gets the start for the National League. McClanahan said that he would bring a Kershaw jersey with him in hopes of getting it signed.