Clayton Kershaw took the mound Wednesday in what his final start of Spring Training and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cactus League finale.
It was Kershaw’s sixth start of the spring and he was in line to wrap up a much more successful camp than he’s had in previous years. Aside from committing an error that resulted in the Kansas City Royals scoring an unearned run, Kershaw was sharp in the planned three innings of work.
As is custom for Kershaw, he found faults in his start but overall said he was pleased with the outing and where he’s at physically, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:
I was all over the place,” Kershaw said.”Walked two guys in three innings, you don’t want to do that, and had a couple hard-hit balls right at guys, so there’s definitely room for improvement. But physically I feel good, feel ready to go and that’s pretty much all you can ask for at this point.”
The reigning National League MVP finished Spring Training 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA, though isn’t putting much stock into his results:
I hope it means I’ll pitch better, but I don’t think it means anything,” Kershaw said. “I didn’t think I pitched that bad last spring and I had a 9 [ERA] and I don’t think I pitched that well this spring and I had a whatever-it-was. I don’t think you put much stock into it. I’d like to, but you can’t, I don’t think. I’ll let you know [on Monday].”
The next time Kershaw stares a batter down will be after plenty of fireworks, and the pomp and circumstance that comes with Opening Day. On top of the excitement that comes with a new season beginning, Chavez Ravine will get its first look at Matt Kemp and the revamped San Diego Padres.
Kershaw is set to make his fifth-consecutive Opening Day start, which is impressive but trails Don Sutton’s seven for the franchise lead. Through his first four career Opening Day starts, Kershaw is 3-0 with 26 strikeouts and has allowed just one run over 25.2 innings.
Memorable highlights on the first day of a new season include Kershaw throwing a complete-game shutout and hitting a tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning of what finished as a Dodgers’ 4-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw is a career 12-6 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 starts against the Padres.
Don Mattingly Discusses Clayton Kershaw’s First Spring Training Start