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Clayton Kershaw vs. Giants: Stellar numbers, but needs run support

The Dodgers have scored an average of just 2.63 runs per game in Kershaw's 16 starts against the Giants, including two runs or less 10 times.

Rob Tringali

For the third consecutive season, Clayton Kershaw gets the nod for the Dodgers on opening day, as the Dodgers ace will start against the Giants on Monday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Since moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have had eight pitchers start at least three times on opening day: Don Sutton (seven), Don Drysdale (six), Fernando Valenzuela (six), Ramon Martinez (five), Orel Hershiser (four), Claude Osteen (three), Kevin Brown (three), and Derek Lowe (three). The last to start three straight opening days was Lowe, who did so from 2005-2007.

Kershaw has allowed just 21 runs in 16 career starts against San Francisco and a ridiculous 1.37 ERA, the best of any pitcher ever with at least 50 innings pitched against the Giants.

But Kershaw has had to be nearly flawless against the Giants, with 12 of those 16 starts decided by to runs or less. Kershaw in 2012 allowed seven runs in five starts but as just 2-3 against the Giants, and it continued a pattern that has lasted his entire career.

Ten times Kershaw has allowed zero or one run to the Giants, and the Dodgers are 10-0. Kershaw is 8-0 with a 1.05 ERA in those starts.

Six times Kershaw has allowed two runs or more to the Giants, and the Dodgers are 0-6. Kershaw is 0-4 despite a 3.15 ERA in those starts.

Kershaw allowed exactly two runs three times to San Francisco in 2012, and he lost all three games. So the lesson is clear: Kershaw can't allow more than one run on Monday if he wants to win.

Then again, he has made two opening day starts and has yet to give up a run.

Game info

Time: 1:10 p.m. PT

TV: Prime Ticket, ESPN

MLB Gameday