Clayton Kershaw did his best Wednesday evening to remind the voting public he belongs at next week's All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park.
Making his final start before the 86th Midsummer Classic, the 27-year-old left-hander - one of five Final Vote nominees for the last roster spot on the National League All-Star team - stymied the Philadelphia Phillies over nine masterful innings for his first shutout of the season.
Kershaw required a season-high 124 pitches to navigate his first shutout since July 26, 2014, collecting 13 strikeouts - another season-high - while extending his streak of scoreless innings against the Phillies to 27. The reigning MVP allowed only eight hits and didn't walk a batter, lowering his ERA to 2.85 through 123 innings thus far in 2015.
Despite enjoying another sublime season, Kershaw entered Wednesday's start faced with the possibility of missing the All-Star Game for the first time since 2010. Though he carried an abnormally high 3.08 ERA into his outing against the Phillies, his numbers have been uniformly fantastic in 2015.
Should Kershaw earn the final spot on the National League roster, the three-time Cy Young award winner will join four of his teammates - Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal, and Joc Pederson - at next week's festivities in Cincinnati. Fans have until 4:00 pm ET on July 10 to submit their Final Vote ballots.