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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Not Ready to Name an Opening Day Starter

The typical Spring Training question is not ready to be answered.



The Dodgers list of Opening Day starters for the last 10 years is somewhat limited. For 8 of those years, it was Clayton Kershaw in consecutive order. He was supposed to be that guy in 2019 and 2020 as well, but injuries prevented that. 

Dustin May was forced into the Opening Day role last season when Kershaw was suddenly placed on the 10-day IL the day of their first game. The Dodgers would’ve turned to Walker Buehler, but he was also not ready to go. 

In a media call on Tuesday afternoon, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about the potential Opening Day starter. When asked if he had one planned out, Doc couldn’t help but chuckle before answering. 

We don’t. I think that I do expect that announcement to be sooner rather than later, and we’re still talking through some things. I do know that we’ve got a lot of viable candidates for Opening Day though. 

Clayton Kershaw is the obvious answer, as Opening Day is a purely ceremonial role. It in no way represents the order of pitching excellence across the Dodgers starting rotation, something fans often forget.

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But this year, the Dodgers have at least 3 guys that could get the nod if Kershaw isn’t 100 percent. Trevor Bauer and his $100+ million contract could be an intriguing option, as could Walker Buehler being passed the torch. Los Angeles could even pivot to veteran David Price if needed, though he seems the least likely. 

Whatever they decide, the Dodgers really can’t go wrong with the decision. But giving Clayton Kershaw his 9th Opening Day start would increase his lead for most in franchise history. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. Simple answer. Whoever is pitching the best gets the nod. Roberts needs to manage and stop playing favorites.

  2. Kind of silly to worry about who gets to start opening day unless it is an endorsement of who our #1 is for the rest of the early season. Also, kinda early to be asking…. beyond day 1 which is purely ceremonial we need to set the rotation up based on ability and best mix to win the bulk of the three game series we face. i.e. as mentioned above quit playing favorites. Baur signed a huge contract, he needs to earn it by facing our toughest competition. I favor giving kershaw and beuhler and easier time of it during the season…protecting them a little for later in the season. Facing the other teams #2 an 3 is less draining than hooking up with their best.

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