Opening Day Preview: Clayton Kershaw Starts For 9th Time; Dodgers Lineup Vs. Rockies

The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their World Series title defense Thursday with an Opening Day matchup against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. It’s the Dodgers’ first time beginning a campaign on the road since 2016, and their first ever matchup against the Rockies in a season opener.

Colorado did face L.A. for their home opener in 2017 and 2019, but the Rockies otherwise are beginning a season at home for the first time since 2011. They do so with an ability to welcome up to 21,363 fans, or 42.6% of Coors Field capacity.

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for a ninth career Opening Day start, a Dodgers franchise record. However, it’s his first since 2018 as injuries prevented the left-hander from throwing the first game each of the past two years.

The Dodgers are 7-1 in Kershaw’s Opening Day starts, with their lone loss coming to the San Francisco Giants in 2018. Kershaw personally is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA and 59 strikeouts across 51.2 innings pitched in those games.

Kershaw had a bit of a rocky ending to Spring Training, but was confident in being able to rebound come the start of the regular season. “Not get too concerned or worried about it and just go compete April 1,” he said after a final spring start.

“I don’t have a choice, so I’m going to be ready. I’m excited to get going. I really am. I’m excited to get there, have that adrenaline, those butterflies and get going again. I’m excited about it.”

That Kershaw is not only starting Opening Day, but doing so as the Dodgers begin their title defense, was called “100%” fitting by Justin Turner. “There’s not another guy in this room that should have the ball on Opening Day,” he added.

The Rockies counter with German Marquez, who also had a mediocre spring. He faces the Dodgers in a second career Opening Day start, with both coming on consecutive years. Marquez allowed one run on two hits in 5.2 innings of a 1-0 loss to the Texas Rangers in the 2020 season opener.

He faces a Dodgers lineup that slugged four home runs in each of the three exhibition Freeway Series games. “We couldn’t have got through spring any better. Guys are ready to get going,” manager Dave Roberts said after Tuesday’s win.

“We came out of it relatively healthy — we’ve got a couple guys on the IL in Brusdar and Joe — but position-player wise, guys are swinging the bats well, their bodies feel good. Starting pitching, guys in the ‘pen, all that stuff is lined up. Excited for Thursday.”

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
SS: Corey Seager
3B: Justin Turner
CF: Cody Bellinger
1B: Max Muncy
LF: Chris Taylor
2B: Gavin Lux
C: Austin Barnes
P: Clayton Kershaw

Rockies lineup

LF: Raimel Tapia
3B: Josh Fuentes
SS: Trevor Story
RF: Charlie Blackmon
1B: C.J. Cron
C: Elias Díaz
2B: Chris Owings
CF: Garrett Hampson
P: German Marquez

Kershaw’s career Opening Day starts

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day starts

SeasonOpponentResultInnings PitchedHitsEarned RunsStrikeouts
2011vs. GiantsWin7.0409
2012@ PadresNo Decision3.0203
2013vs. GiantsWin9.0407
2014vs. Diamondbacks (Australia)Win6.2517
2015vs. PadresNo Decision6.0639
2016@ PadresWin7.0109
2017vs. PadresWin7.0218
2018vs. GiantsLoss6.0817
2021@ RockiesLoss5.21052

How to watch Dodgers Opening Day

SportsNet LA is carrying the road matchup with the Rockies, and so too is ESPN as part of a quadrupleheader. The game can also be streamed via Watch ESPN. First pitch at Coors Field is set for 1:10 p.m. PT.

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