The All-Star Game is less than two weeks away. The starting lineups for the game will be announced on Friday, with several players competing with each other to earn the most votes from the fans.
In addition to the battles to start in the lineup, one of the most interesting decisions that will be made in the next couple of weeks is which pitcher will start the All-Star Game for the National League. Over the past few weeks, two pitchers have become the main contenders to start the All-Star Game, Tony Gonsolin and Sandy Alcantara.
Gonsolin has had a breakout season for the Dodgers so far in 2022. The 28-year-old was excellent in 2020 and 2021, but only pitched 102.1 innings across those two seasons.
This season, Gonsolin has been one of the best pitchers in the MLB. He has already thrown a career-high 88.2 innings, and has the lowest ERA, WHIP, and hits per nine innings in the league. He is also 11-0 for the Dodgers this season.
The main criticism of Gonsolin has been the length of his starts. He has only thrown more than six innings three times this season. However, Gonoslin’s two longest starts of the year have come in his last two games. He pitched 7.2 innings and allowed just one run against the Padres to start the month of July before following that up with a seven-inning performance against the Cubs on Thursday in which he allowed two runs.
Those two starts could have a big impact on the decision-making for who starts the All-Star Game, which will be played at Dodger Stadium, Gonsolin’s home ballpark. Innings pitched will have an even bigger impact because Gonsolin’s main competition to start the game is Sandy Alcantara, the league leader in the statistic.
Last season, Sandy Alcantara had a phenomenal season even if it wasn’t widely recognized. He started the most games in the league, 33, and threw 205.2 innings with a 3.19 ERA. He also had more than 200 strikeouts, with 201 on the season.
This year, Alcantara is on track to throw even more innings, but has one of the lowest ERAs in baseball. He is second in the NL with a 1.82 ERA so far this season, behind only Gonsolin, despite having thrown almost 40 innings more than the Dodgers starter.
Alcantara has also thrown two complete games in 2022, allowing only two earned runs across both games. In addition, he leads the NL in WAR, not only for pitchers, but for all players.
While Gonsolin leads in ERA, WHIP, and hits per nine innings, Alcantara has thrown more innings and leads Gonsolin in WAR. Both pitchers will be All-Stars, but the decision on which one of them will start will be difficult to make.
Who Should Start
Gonsolin and Alcantara have clearly proven themselves as the best two pitchers in the National League in the first half of the season. Gonsolin has had slightly better quality in a smaller amount of innings, while Alcantara has been nearly as good over a much greater amount of innings pitched.
Gonsolin’s first half of the season has been incredible and has been very important for the Dodgers. He is one of the main reasons the team has the best ERA in the National League.
However, Alcantara’s start to the season is extremely unique among starting pitchers in the modern MLB. While Gonsolin has pitched more than six innings in only three of his starts, Alcantara has thrown less than six innings in only three of his starts. One of those performances was his first start of the season after a shortened Spring Training, and the other two starts were both in May.
Alcantara leads the league in batters faced by 38, and has thrown 12 more innings than Aaron Nola, who is second in the NL in innings pitched. What he has done so far this season doesn’t happen often in the modern MLB, and that is why he should start the All-Star Game.
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