Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts formally announced Clayton Kershaw as his starter for Opening Day of the 2017 season. In taking the mound against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on April 3, Kershaw will have made seven consecutive Opening Day starts.
Vicente Padilla was the last pitcher other than Kershaw to start for the Dodgers on Opening Day (2010). It’s a streak bested only by Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who has started each Opening Day from 2009-16, and presumably will do so again this year.
Amongst Dodgers pitchers, Kershaw will tie Don Drysdale and Don Sutton for most Opening Day starts in franchise history. However, only four of Drysdale’s seven outings were in succession (1958-61), while Sutton’s Opening Day string ran from 1972-78.
Los Angeles is 6-0 in their season openers with Kershaw on the hill. The ace is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA and 44 strikeouts in those contests, and a fifth victory would tie Drysdale for most wins in franchise history on Opening Day.
Kershaw’s best performance came in 2013, when he fired a complete game with nine strikeouts and hit a go-ahead solo home run against the San Francisco Giants.
This year will mark the second consecutive time Kershaw faces the Padres to begin a season, and third time overall. Last year, he held San Diego to one hit and had nine strikeouts over seven shutout innings at Petco Park.
Kershaw has completed at least six innings in five of six Opening Day starts. The exception came against the Padres in 2012, when illness limited him to just three scoreless frames.
Although Padres manager Andy Green named his Opening Day starter last year — Tyson Ross — during the first few days of camp, he’s yet to do so for 2017. Conceivable options are Jhoulys Chacin, Christian Friedrich, Luis Perdomo and Clayton Richard.
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|