Clayton Kershaw made his final start of Spring Training on Wednesday, throwing three innings in an abridged tuneup against the Cleveland Indians.
He was coming off an outing in which he allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings of work to the same Indians. Kershaw recorded seven strikeouts, but needed to work his way out of trouble on multiple occasions and didn’t have his usually sharp curveball or slider.
Kershaw was improved in a second go-around against the Indians, allowing just two hits. He struck out four, though also issued a pair of walks. He left Arizona with a 1.96 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 25 strikeouts and eight walks in 23 innings pitched across six starts.
Next up for the three-time Cy Young Award winner is a sixth consecutive Opening Day start, which will leave him one shy of tying Don Sutton’s franchise record set from 1972-78.
According to ESPN’s Doug Padilla, taking the mound in a season opener is something Kershaw feels honored to do:
“It’s a huge honor to be a part of it obviously,” Kershaw said about pitching in the first game of the season. “It’s tough to balance. It is just one game to the significance of getting to start it. It’s a tough balance there for sure, but I do enjoy getting to pitch it, for sure.”
The Dodgers are 5-0 in the five Opening Day games in which Kershaw has started. He’ll be opposed by San Diego Padres righty Tyson Ross, who is making his first career Opening Day start. Kershaw had a 2.20 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched across three outings against the Padres last season.
He allowed one run and collected 11 strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched during his lone start at Petco Park in 2015.