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Dodgers: Why Clayton Kershaw Must Start Opening Day

Manager Dave Roberts hasn’t officially announced an Opening Day starter, but it needs to be Clayton Kershaw.

Twenty nine days stand between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Opening Day. “Opening Day Starter” has long been one of the most hallowed titles any pitcher can earn. The baseball equivalent of the last starter to be summoned off the bench and onto the hardwood as the crowd goes wild.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts has yet to name that starter, but has admitted it’s one of two guys.

Do we have an opening day starter yet… um, yeah, we do… I’m not ready to share it though. It’s one of two guys, how about that?

Walker Buehler might be the better pitcher statistically in 2020, but the emblematic Clayton Kershaw should absolutely be “the guy” to start the season versus the San Francisco Giants.

The 25-year-old Buehler has plenty of late March starts in store for the coming years. Kershaw may not.    

Kershaw’s twelfth season ended before it even began with a shoulder injury that kept him out of the rotation until mid-April. With his fastball velocity slipping, he had to reinvent himself. He finished 2019 with 28 starts, his highest total since 2015, and was seventh in league ERA (3.03). Safe to say he adapted.

Kershaw has endured injuries and playoff failures with the Dodgers. No disrespect to Aroldis Chapman or Mike Bolsinger, but Kershaw is the biggest victim of the cheating Houston Astros.

If that fateful night at Joe Buck’s Crawford Boxes had gone differently, who knows where Kershaw’s confidence would have been in 2018 against the Red Sox.

After all he has been through with this organization, he has earned the right to start Opening Day 2020. It’s a nod of confidence. A sign of respect. Loyal support for a man whose legacy is forever altered by the biggest scandal since the Black Sox. Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t about pity. He can still pitch at a high level worthy of commendation.

To hell with the Astros and Alex Cora, Kershaw deserves at least one more coronation before Buehler takes the throne.

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Talks Competition with Walker Buehler

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Number one fear in life is dying without ever seeing a Dodgers Championship.

Comments

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  1. Eric,
    Congratulations to a real Dodger fan who understands loyalty and rewarding for excellence. Any other choice shows Roberts as a dope.

    Not sure what you are referring to about “Joe Buck’s Crawford Boxes” but Buck is poor excuse for an announcer and a person, who is only where he is because of his father.

  2. “To hell with the Astros and Alex Cora, Kershaw deserves at least one more coronation before Buehler takes the throne.”

    You are exactly correct.

  3. I am reminded of other power pitchers who successfully shifted to crafitness on their way to a HOF career. Kershaw is one of them.

  4. Clayton is going to have a good year. He had a good year last year; and with his change in off season activity (drivetrain etc,); it is extremely likely he is a tick better this year. All he needs is a tick to be back in Cy Young conversations. And for the Dodgers; it is important to honor his past achievements. Dodger tradition commands it.

  5. Opening day starter is a “hallowed” thing? Not to me. I must have missed that one. If Kershaw is healthy, give it to him, as a team leader and veteran. If he isn’t healthy, give it to someone else. Then play the next 161 games and get into the postseason with a team that’s ready to win it all. Teams aren’t about a single “hallowed” player.

  6. I trust that Dave Roberts will have a conversation with whoever needs to be talked to and come to a decision that’s best for the team. I’d like to see Kershaw on day one but if not it doesn’t concern me too much.

  7. Clayton to the post in Game 1! End of conversation…particularly against ’Frisco.

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