Last year Clayton Kershaw was ruled out from extending his franchise record streak of Opening Day starts to nine in a row because shoulder inflammation forced him to begin the season on the 10-day injured list.
Kershaw enjoyed a healthy 2019 campaign upon returning and by all accounts was in strong mental and physical condition this spring. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Kershaw as the team’s 2020 Opening Day starter, selecting his left-handed ace over Walker Buehler.
But it was ultimately rendered a moot point — at least as it pertains to the originally scheduled Opening Day on March 26 — as Major League Baseball was forced to cancel Spring Training and delay the start of the season in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Without any current games to play on Thursday, MLB took to filling the time by re-airing a mixed combination of classic and more recent matchups on MLB Network and across the league’s social media platforms.
For Kershaw, who is at his Dallas home, the reality of not yet being able to play set in, via AM 570 L.A. Sports:
“It’s a weird feeling. Obviously, there’s a lot of people going through a lot of different stuff with what’s going on in the world. Our world has changed quite a bit and it’s obviously not a life or death situation like for so many people, but it’s still a huge change. To not to be there at Dodger Stadium and having the Opening Day experience, I guess today it kind of really kicked in that baseball is not going to start when it should. It’s sad. It’s a sad feeling.
“But, thankful that I’ve got to be here with my family, have some good family time, and everybody is safe and healthy. We’ve got our blessings to count, for sure.”
The Dodgers have won seven of eight Opening Day starts Kershaw has made, and he personally is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 59 strikeouts across 51.2 innings pitched in those games. The lone loss came in 2018 to the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw has logged at least six innings in seven of eight season openers, with the only exception was when he pitched just three innings in 2012 because of illness.
It can be presumed Kershaw will start the Dodgers’ first game of the year and though it may not be the original Opening Day date, the layoff will likely lead to a heightened sense of excitement on top of what already comes with beginning a new season.
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