Shohei Ohtani All-Star starter over Sox’s Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodón

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Rodón, Lynn ‘rooting’ for Sox starter, Ohtani gets nod originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

DENVER Reporters squinted from the rows of seats in front of the podium, trying to make out the names of the All-Star starters on the name cards before the announcement.

As the names came into focus, it became clear that the White Sox’s two 2021 All-Star starting pitchers wouldn’t be taking the mound first in Tuesday’s showcase.

That honor would go to Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani, who made MLB All-Star history when he was selected to the American League squad as a designated hitter and pitcher. Leading the league in home runs (33), Ohtani is also participating in the home run derby Monday.

“He’s batting leadoff and he’s starting, so I’m thinking homer – and strike out the side,” White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn said Monday, after the announcement.

Leading up to the All-Star break, Lynn told the Chicago Sun Times that he didn’t think Ohtani would be the best choice to start, referencing the number of innings Ohtani had pitched (67) compared to other All-Stars up for the job. Lynn and Rodon, for example, have each pitched around 90 innings.

“I feel like I threw my name in the hat to have that opportunity,” Lynn said Monday. “But with what he’s doing and what he’s capable of – and you look at how the game’s going to flow, it would have be tough for him to go get loose down in the bullpen and then come out somewhere in the middle of the game.”

The logistics did seem to come into play in AL manager Kevin Cash’s decision to start Ohtani. Cash said he spoke to Angels manager Joe Maddon about the best way to manage – and protect – Ohtani’s unique skillset.

But something else Cash said drove to the heart of the decision.

“This is what the fans want to see,” Cash said, calling Ohtani a generational talent. “It’s, personally, what I want to see.”

White Sox lefty Carlos Rodón agrees that what Ohtani’s done this year is “good for baseball.”

As Lynn’s teammate, however, Rodón was still rooting for the big right-hander with an AL-best 1.99 ERA to get the nod.

Why not himself (7-3, 2.31 ERA)?

“I think he’s just scare of me,” Lynn said with a smile. “I think he just wants it to be known that he’s rooting for me. But we both had great first halves, and we’ve both been pulling for each other. And he’s been through a lot. You see what he’s been doing—he’s just as much deserving. So, we’re going to keep doing our thing and trying to help our team win.”

As for the All-Star Game, Lynn said: “This stuff’s just for fun.”

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