I could have opened this post with a line I’m sure many writers have used before in regards to Clayton Kershaw making an Opening Day start. I’ll save the ‘death, taxes, Kershaw’ line until 2019. Everyone and their household pet knew that when the Dodgers opened in Los Angeles on March 29th, Kershaw would be on the bump. Dave Roberts even made mention of said household pet in his announcement of the non-announcement.
“Cat’s out of the bag” — Dave Roberts on Clayton Kershaw being Opening Day starter.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 13, 2018
It feels like it’s becoming habit through a generation to see Kershaw open up a Dodgers regular season. That’s because it is. Kershaw is approaching a decade of Opening Day starts, and this year holds milestone significance.
It will mark the left-hander’s eighth straight Opening Day start, which will move him ahead of Don Drysdale and Don Sutton for most Opening Day starts in Dodgers history.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez holds the longest active streak of Opening Day starts with nine, and the longest streak of all time belongs to Jack Morris, who started 14 straight for the Tigers (1980-90), Twins (1991) and Blue Jays (1992-93). Robin Roberts has the longest streak of Opening Day starts with one team, making 12 in a row for the Phillies from 1950-61.
Also comforting is that when the Dodgers open with the rival Giants at 4:00 PM in Los Angeles – it will be the only game on the schedule and nationally televised on ESPN.
Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day – Lifetime
Kershaw has been masterful in his career on the first calendar day of the regular season.
- A career Opening Day record of 5-0 in seven starts. He tallied a no-decision in 2012, and 2015.
- His career ERA in openers is a spotless 0.99, which at present time is the second-lowest in baseball history with a minimum of 5 starts. This is behind Rick Mahler at 0.92.
- The Dodger’s ace has thrown 45.2 innings on Opening Day, an average of over six innings per outing.
- Picking your favorite Kershaw Opening Day start is like picking your favorite Wrestlemania, so don’t try. But mine would be April 1st, 2013. You can look at that box score here.
Kershaw and presumably Madison Bumgarner for the Giants will bang the drum once again in late March. Our best versus their best to decide who starts the season in the hole, and who begins in first place. Given that Opening Day Kershaw has been beyond the gold standard over the course of his career, I like the Dodgers chances at Chavez Ravine that night.
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