Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed Clayton Kershaw remains the club’s Opening Day starter the San Francisco Giants on July 23.
Kershaw was originally named the organization’s Opening Day starter during Spring Training, although with so much uncertainty after a long layoff due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the schedule changing, Tuesday marked the first Roberts revisited the topic.
This will mark Kershaw’s franchise-record ninth Opening Day start in 10 years, with 2019 being the lone year of the past decade that he hasn’t been able to take the mound.
The Dodgers are 7-1 in Kershaw’s Opening Day starts, with their lone loss coming to the Giants in 2018. Kershaw personally is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 59 strikeouts across 51.2 innings pitched in those games.
His ERA is the lowest on Opening Day for any pitcher to make more than five starts in a season opener since earned runs became official in both leagues in 1913.
While the Giants originally planned for Johnny Cueto to oppose Kershaw on Opening Day, it remains to be seen whether that will still be the case a few months later. Veteran righty Jeff Samardzija could be another option if Giants manager Gabe Kapler decides to make a change.
Following Kershaw in the Dodgers’ rotation will likely be Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Alex Wood, in some order. With David Price deciding to opt-out of playing the 2020 season, the fifth spot in the rotation remains up for grabs with Ross Stripling as the favorite and Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin also in the mix.
The Dodgers open the 2020 season with a four-game series against the rival Giants at Dodger Stadium. They will then travel to take on the Houston Astros in a highly-anticipated two-game series.
With only 60 regular-season games to be played in 2020, it will be extra important for the Dodgers to get off to a hot start to avoid playing catchup and potentially missing the postseason altogether.
Considering how great Kershaw has been on Opening Day throughout his career, giving him the ball to start off the season was a no-brainer for Roberts and the Dodgers staff.
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