The news we have all been expecting for the past week has finally come to life. Clayton Kershaw will not be the Opening Day starter for the Dodgers when the season kicks off next Thursday, as Dave Roberts makes it official.
#Dodgers Clayton Kershaw will not start Opening Day Dave Roberts says definitively. “When he’s ready to pitch for us is when he’ll pitch for us.”
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 18, 2019
Depending on how long you have been a fan, you might not even remember the last time Clayton Kershaw did not start on Opening Day. That was way back in 2010 when Vicente Padilla tossed 4.1 innings against the Pirates in a blowout home loss. Kershaw took over every Opening Day start from then on, making eight straight. That was the most in Dodgers’ history, passing the likes of Don Drysdale and Don Sutton.
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The truth is that Kershaw’s age has started to catch up over the last few years. He’s not that young 20-year-old cranking in heaters and mixing in a ridiculous curveball to make hitters look foolish any more. Lately, he’s had to change his approach to hitters. There has been much more painting corners and plenty of breaking balls mixed in to keep himself on top of the game. And mind you, he IS still one of the best in the game.
Kershaw made 26 starts last year to the tune of a 2.73 earned run average and 155 strikeouts versus 29 walks. Not great by his standards, but it still puts him at the top of most rotations in baseball. We will have to give it some time before we see him back at the top in our rotation from the looks of it. The shoulder pain he experienced early in Spring held him back far too long to make it in time for Opening Day.
The good news? Opening Day may be the least important game of the year. I’ll take a healthy October Kershaw over a roughed up Spring Kershaw.