Kershaw had his Dodgers franchise record of eight consecutive Opening Day starts snapped last year when he began the season on the 10-day injured list because of shoulder trouble. Kershaw made his season debut in the middle of April and otherwise avoided the IL.
However, he saw some decline and in some regard was surpassed by Walker Buehler as staff ace. That notion led to some belief Dodgers manager Dave Roberts would tab the young right-hander for the Opening Day matchup with the San Francisco Giants.
While Kershaw is appreciative of another opportunity to start the season opener, he made sure with Buehler and Roberts that a decision was not made solely out of legacy, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I talked to Walker about it too and Doc and I,” Kershaw said. “We kind of all got together and I said I don’t want a charity Opening Day. If you want me to do it, great. But if you want Walker to do it, great too. Walker was great about it. I’m thankful that I get to do it.”
Hall of Famer Tom Seaver has the MLB record for most Opening Day starts with 16 (11 were for the New York Mets). Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander have made the most Opening Day starts amongst active pitchers, with 11 each.
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|
Kershaw is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 59 strikeouts across 51.2 innings in his eight career Opening Day starts. The lone loss came to the Giants in 2018, despite Kershaw allowing just one run.
He’s logged at least six innings in seven of eight season openers. The only exception was when Kershaw pitched just three innings because of illness.
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