When the Los Angeles Dodgers took the field at Dodger Stadium on Thursday afternoon, it officially marked the end of Clayton Kershaw’s streak of Opening Day starts. He made a franchise record eight consecutive starts in season openers, and was poised to do so again in 2019.
But days after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Kershaw the team’s Opening Day starter, he was shut down because of inflammation in his left shoulder. It would be several days before Kershaw resumed playing catch, which initially did not go well.
He tested his shoulder two days later with another round of catch, and that began a steady build up toward recovery. Despite the gradual progress, Kershaw was not left with enough time to start Opening Day and began the season on the 10-day injured list.
Had he done so, that not only would’ve extended his franchise-record streak but also potentially led to Kershaw breaking another Dodgers record. His five wins on Opening Day are tied with Don Drysdale for most in franchise history.
Moreover, Kershaw would have continued to close in on longtime Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who had his streak of consecutive Opening Day starts snapped at 10 this year. Hernandez’s stretch was the longest active streak in the Majors.
The Dodgers went 7-1 in Kershaw’s Opening Day starts, with their lone loss coming last season to the San Francisco Giants. Kershaw personally was 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 51.2 innings pitched over that time.
Kershaw’s history in season openers memorably includes hitting what still stands as the only home run of his career as he broke a scoreless tie with the San Francisco Giants by hitting a solo shot in the seventh inning in 2013.
The following year, Kershaw was on the mound in Sydney, Australia, when the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks kicked off the season.
Clayton Kershaw Opening Day starts
|Season||Opponent||Result||Innings Pitched||Hits||Earned Runs||Strikeouts|
|2012||@ Padres||No Decision||3.0||2||0||3|
|2014||vs. Diamondbacks (Australia)||Win||6.2||5||1||7|
|2015||vs. Padres||No Decision||6.0||6||3||9|