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A Memorable Opening Day, Highlighted By Kershaw

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Yesterday was the first Dodgers opening day I have ever attended, and it did not disappoint. The pageantry of the pregame ceremonies were great, but were surpassed by the game itself, thanks mostly to Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw was magnificent, starting the game with three strikeouts in the first inning, a frame only blemished by a Rafael Furcal throwing error.

Kershaw struck out eight batters in his first four innings, with the only hit a little dribbler by Brandon Belt in his first major league at-bat. I was sure from the stands that Belt was out on the play, but I never saw Kershaw drop the ball. Even then, the play probably should have been scored an error, and the way Kershaw was throwing my brother and I were convinced that play would rob us of a no-hitter. That didn't happen, of course, but Kershaw's performance was still awesome.

The ace threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out nine. In four career starts at Dodger Stadium against the Giants, Kershaw has a 1.33 ERA with 37 strikeouts and eight walks in 27 innings. His game score of 77 yesterday was the 12th-best opening day game score by a Dodger since 1919, and eighth best since the Dodgers, like Fievel, moved west:

Highest Opening Day Game Score By a Dodger, 1919-2011
Pitcher Date Opp IP H R ER BB K GmScr
Hideo Nomo 2003 Ari 9 4 0 0 1 7 85
Don Drysdale 1960 Chi 11 7 2 2 4 14 85
Jesse Petty 1926 NYG 9 1 0 0 3 2 84
Don Drysdale 1965 NYM 9 4 1 1 1 9 83
Don Sutton 1974 SD 9 6 0 0 2 8 81
Whit Wyatt 1940 Bos 9 5 0 0 0 4 81
Dutch Ruether* 1923 Phi 14 9 5 3 4 7 81
Fernando Valenzuela    1981 Hou 9 5 0 0 2 5 80
Sandy Koufax 1964 StL 9 6 0 0 0 5 80
Dazzy Vance 1925 Phi 9 5 1 1 2 8 79
Don Sutton 1977 SF 9 4 1 1 3 6 78
Clayton Kershaw 2011 SF 7 4 0 0 1 9 77

*no relation to Kenley Jansen