Dodgers Name Clayton Kershaw Opening Day Starter

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Halfway through winter, there wasn’t much debate as to which pitchers would make up the quintet of the Dodgers starting rotation, so long as everyone stayed healthy. Furthermore, there wasn’t any doubt at all who would take the hill on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

Once again, the 2019 honors go to Clayton Kershaw.

Skipper Dave Roberts announced the decision to the media on Tuesday.

The starting nod will be Kersh’s ninth career Opening Day start, extending his own team record.

“It’s very cool,” Kershaw told reporters not long after the announcement. “Opening Day symbolizes a lot of things. I’m excited about it. Being on the same team that long, a team with a long list of great starting pitchers, to be associated with them is kind of special.”

Los Angeles won all of Kershaw’s first seven Opening Day starts, as he compiled a 5-0 record with a 0.99 ERA during that span. However, his win streak was broken in 2018 when the Dodgers were blanked by the Giants, 1-0.

The three-year, $93 million contract extension that Kershaw signed over the winter was seemingly swept under the rug, mainly because management took care of all the loose ends before the MLB Hot Stove was able to gain any momentum. Kerhsaw could have opted out of his previous pact with the Dodgers, but he ultimately agreed to the deal without many complications, easing the collective conscience of the fan base.

Kershaw was the team’s first pick in the 2006 draft, joining the big league squad in 2008. The Dodgers have gone to the playoffs in almost every year he has been in the rotation, including winning six straight division titles from 2013-2018, three straight NLCS appearances, and back-to-back World Series appearances in 2017-18.  Kershaw won the NL Cy Young in 2013, 2104, and 2106.  He also was the NL MVP for the 2014 season.

Nevertheless, Kershaw was on the disabled list twice last season with shoulder and back issues. He went 9-5, but his 2.73 ERA would have still placed him fourth in the National League had he reached the qualifying innings amount. Overall, he pitched a total of 191-1/3 innings, including the postseason. He went the first six years of his Major League career without being on the disabled list at all, but has been placed on the shelf five times in the last five seasons.

Moreover, there has been a lot of chatter about the ace’s decreasing velocity, especially during last season. Over the winter break, front office boss Andrew Friedman downplayed the overall need for Kersh to increase his velocity, adding that better execution would be enough for improved success. However, Roberts noted that an uptick would increase Kershaw’s margin for error, while giving him more confidence to throw fastballs glove side and also playing up his slider.

“There’s so much data now, body movements and things, and how you can be out of whack with your mechanics that you can kind of work on and work through, that it’s in there,” Roberts explained. “And the No. 1 thing for me — his work ethic, his desire, and he’s healthy.”

Regardless of his velocity and his 2018 statistics, Kersh remains one of the top starting pitchers in all of baseball—for now.

 

26 thoughts on “Dodgers Name Clayton Kershaw Opening Day Starter

  1. Like there was any doubt that would happen? Watched a story on ESPN last night which was about free agency and had some of the players talking about the fact that the big 2 had not yet signed, which changed today when Machado signed with the Padres for 10/300. They interviewed Stanton and Mike Trout. Both were saying how it was not good for baseball that those two guys were still free agents. But, then ESPN showed a chart that showed where Stanton, Trout and Harper were on the list of slugging stats. Friedman has to be a genius for not signing Harper. Over the last 5 years, Harper is not in the top 10 on any of the slugging stats, including slugging percentage, number of Home runs and such. Both Stanton and Trout are…….go figure…..

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    1. Yes, this is one time I need to give credit where it is due. But do not expect this kind of thing often. The stats in this case did not lie. I also am patting myself on the back because I have been against the idea of signing him from the get go. The story that came out the other day about lack of hustle and being a bad team mate and mostly. not working to make yourself better. But this was the icing on the cake. Scoop and I both said that Stanton would be the better player to add to LA’s roster, and now I have statistical proof that it is the case………….but Ol Andy is still on my watch list…….oh, I just ordered some topps cards of 6 of our prize kids……Lux, Kendall, Alvarez, Smith, Peters and Ruiz.

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  2. Bear, I was a little harsh the other day and I apologize. I just think we have a great group of young men playing their hearts out and deserve a little praise even if they come up a bit short

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not argue that they do not. My point, and Scoop backed me up on this, is that even though they are very good, they are not elite. Elite is a whole different level. Elite is when you win the big one 2 times in a row or more, not because you happen to get there, and the 2018 team was far from elite. They were merely very good.

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  3. We should mark this day down, and never let bear forget the words he posted on February 19th 2019 at 6:04am EST. We wouldn’t pull your leg bear if we didn’t love you so much.
    Hey scoop are you guys getting much snow in Sedona? My dad lives in Prescott, he told me they may get close to two foot around there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I already marked it in my calendar so I would know what date to quote when I post my retraction and rebuttal. Why ask Scoop about snow? I will tell you this, it is 8 degrees and snowing where I live right now….

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    2. We got about 8” with another 13-23” supposedly on the way Keith. We’ve delayed putting the house on the market until this front passes.

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  4. RIP Don (Big Newk) Newcombe. A class gentleman and maybe one of the more fashion conscious players to ever don the Dodger uni. The only player in MLB history to win the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and MVP awards. Met him at spring training in Az once. Was easy to talk to and a great story teller. He will be missed. Hope the Dodgers wear his # 36 on their uni somewhere this year. If a non player ever deserves to have his number retired, based on his years of service to the organization, Newk is a very worthy man.

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    1. Non player? I think I know what you’re saying Bear. Don Newcombe was a man that represented himself and the Dodgers with dignity and respect for decades. I never had the chance to watch him play. We moved to Van Nuys in ‘58 right at the end of the season and he wasn’t on the team. I heard my grandpa talk about him. I was 11. He only played in the Majors 10 years. Something I find interesting is that he was pretty much done as an outstanding pitcher by age 30, though he did throw 222 innings at age 33. He no doubt threw a lot of innings before he played with the Dodgers, and missed 2 prime years during the Korean War. He was traded to Cincinnati in ‘58. Anybody remember for who?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I meant someone who is not in the hall, and did not over his career amass Hall numbers….in answer to your question, he was traded on June 15th 1958, which was the trade deadline in those days, the Dodgers received 4 players for him Steve Bilko, and Johnny Klippstein and later the Reds sent Art Fowler and Charlie Rabe to complete the trade.

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  5. I just read the scouting reports on the Padres top prospects.

    Gulp.

    Gore looks like Kershaw and Morejon looks like Urias. Chris Paddack, 23, if he can stay healthy, and 23 year old Michael Baez, 6’8”, 220, throws 98 mph, can both win now. They have 9 pitchers at the top of their charts and 7 of them are MLB Top 100. Add Tatis and Urias, #2 and # 23 on that list and in few years that infield has 4 potential All Stars in it. They also have Francisco Mejia, a catcher, ranked #26. Dang. These guys have it going on. Their relief pitching is already Top 6 in ERA and BAA. They get a couple starters and they can compete for the Division ….. sooner than later.

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  6. Top prospects don’t always project as top players especially the pitching but you have to think 1or 2 of those pitchers hit so yes they will be dangerous. But Myers and Hosmer definetly limit the Pads ceiling. It will be interesting to see Manny’s numbers hitting at Petco. I still like our future better

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    1. Petco contracted the outfield walls a few years ago. It doesn’t play as big as it usta did. Maybe the reason the park reflects poorly as a hitters park is because there haven’t been many good hitters playing there in a while. That could change.

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  7. Manny’s numbers outside of Baltimore not very impressive. It will be interesting what he does for Pads. Compare his OPS this year to Muncy’s and we’re paying him half a mil!

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    1. People will pay to watch Machado. Muncy has one good year in the books. If he continues to hit like he did last year, he might become a draw. But I seriously doubt he becomes the draw Manny is.

      This Show Business folks. Some players are just bigger personalities.

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    1. I’m talking about value. A player that sells tickets has value.

      Machado will hit. To think otherwise is just not being realistic. I predict he will OPS close to .900 and put up positive DRS and both oWAR and dWAR numbers.

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