Somewhat overshadowed by the Los Angeles Dodgers slugging four home runs in a 14-3 rout of the San Diego Padres, Clayton Kershaw tied a franchise record with a seventh career Opening Day start on April 3, 2017.
Don Drysdale and Don Sutton also made seven Opening Day starts for the Dodgers. However, only Sutton and Kershaw share the honor of their starts in season openers coming consecutively. Kershaw took hold of the Dodgers all-time mark when he started Opening Day in 2018.
At the time his streak was the longest in the National League and the second longest in the Majors to the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez. Kershaw’s stretch of Opening Day starts was snapped in 2019 due to beginning the season on the 10-day injured list because of left shoulder inflammation.
Hyun-Jin Ryu became the first Dodgers pitcher other than Kershaw to start on Opening Day since Vicente Padilla in 2010.
Kershaw went into the 2017 Opening Day start having been absolutely dominant in such outings. Through his first six season openers, the left-hander was 4-0 (Dodgers won each game) with a 0.93 ERA, six walks and 44 strikeouts over 38.2 innings.
Kershaw held the Padres to just two runs (one earned) and only needed 84 pitches to spin seven innings. He struck out eight without issuing a walk, and by earning a fifth career Opening Day win, tied Drysdale for most in franchise history.
Although Kershaw and the Dodgers came away with a victory, it was the Padres who took an early lead.
Wil Myers reached on a Corey Seager throwing error with one out in the first inning, then moved into scoring position on a Kershaw wild pitch, and came across on Yangervis Solarte’s base hit. Solarte’s RBI single was followed by Kershaw retiring the next 19 batters faced.
The streak was broken up by Ryan Schimpf’s solo home run with two outs in the seventh inning, but by then the Dodgers had the game well in hand.
Joc Pederson’s sacrifice fly pulled L.A. even in the second inning, and his grand slam in the fourth gave them a decided lead. Yasmani Grandal followed with his first of two home runs on the day. Sandwiched in between them was a three-run shot from Seager in the fifth inning.
The Dodgers set a franchise record with the four home runs on Opening Day, though that was shattered when they pounded eight against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019.
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