Even though it was the San Diego Padres who scored first, aided by a Corey Seager throwing error, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers once again ran away with an Opening Day victory. The Dodgers set a franchise record by hitting four home runs in a season opener.
After a Yangervis Solarte RBI single that got through a drawn-in infield in the first inning, Kershaw retired 19 batters in a row. He threw 84 pitches over seven innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and finished with eight strikeouts.
Los Angeles routed San Diego, 14-3. “If they can keep scoring double-digit runs, I think I’ll have a good year,” Kershaw said.
The comfortable lead afforded Kershaw with an opportunity to throw his arsenal of pitches, including a changeup, without being under much duress. Though, the left-hander noted the importance of maintaining focus.
“I think you definitely want to mix your pitches as best you can to make sure you have everything working the way you want it to,” Kershaw said. “But at the same time it is a big league game. You don’t want to give away any hits or outs.”
Kershaw improved to 5-0 with a 0.99 ERA in seven career starts on Opening Day. His win total is tied with Don Drysdale for most in franchise history, and Kershaw’s ERA on Opening Day is the second-lowest mark (Rick Mahler, 0.92 ERA) in MLB history among pitchers who have started at least five season openers.
“It’s a huge honor to get to do it. To get to do it seven times now, is pretty crazy. I never would have guessed that,” Kershaw said. “I don’t really have any reason for [the success], but it’s a lot fun to be out there and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes Kershaw’s demeanor is key to consistently answering the bell. “All the fanfare and notoriety of Opening Day, you have to be some type of special to not let those things get to you and affect you,” Roberts said.
“I think with Clayton, he never gets too high or too low. It is something special and he takes pride in winning this game.”