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Clayton Kershaw to start opening day for Dodgers

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Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The worst-kept secret of Dodgers spring training became actual news on Monday, when manager Don Mattingly announced that Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start opening day on April 6 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw would be just the second Dodgers pitcher, at least dating back to 1914, to start five consecutive opening days, joining Hall of Famer Don Sutton, who started seven straight games from 1972-1978.

"Did it count last year, in Australia?" Kershaw asked, half-jokingly. "The streak is still intact."

The only Dodgers with five opening day starts in total, again dating back to 1914, are Don Drysdale and Sutton (seven each), Fernando Valenzuela (six) and Ramon Martinez.

"Any time you're up there with those names, that's pretty cool," Kershaw said. "The Dodgers have a huge history of pitchers. To be a part of that and do something they did is pretty cool."

Kershaw will start the Dodgers' second Cactus League game, on Thursday, meaning he will likely start twice with an extra day of rest during spring training as he builds up toward his regular season opener.

"I was preparing for it, but you never know. We have a lot of good pitchers on our staff. Obviously it's a huge honor," Kershaw said. "Now I have a goal end date, April 6, to get ready to go."

The Dodgers have won all four of Kershaw's opening day starts. Kershaw himself is 3-0, allowing just one run in 25⅔ innings, with 26 strikeouts and three walks. His opening day no-decision came in 2012, when he had the flu and came out after three scoreless frames.

As a franchise the Dodgers have never won five straight opening days, though they did win nine straight first decisions from 1919-1927, which was a pair of four-game opening day win streaks sandwiched around a tie on opening day in 1923, a 5-5 game against the Phillies called after 14 innings. The Dodgers beat Philadelphia the next day in a new game, 6-5.