LOS ANGELES — One of the greatest days on the calendar is here, with opening day finally upon us. For the Dodgers, that means Clayton Kershaw on the mound, and that has proved a winning formula to date.
Kershaw will make his seventh consecutive opening day start when he takes the mound on Monday afternoon against the Padres, tying the franchise record for most opening day starts — tied with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton — and matching Sutton for the most consecutive such starts.
Not so coincidentally, the Dodgers have won their season opener six straight times, their longest opening day winning streak in franchise history.*
*There is a caveat here, of sorts. The Brooklyn Dodgers won four straight opening days from 1919-1922, then again from 1924-1927. In 1923, the club tied their season opener, a game called after 14 innings presumably because of darkness. Brooklyn won the next day to start the season 1-0, but if we’re being technical that doesn’t count as an opening day win, so no nine-game winning streak.
Kershaw has been magnificent in his six opening day starts, including nine strikeouts in seven scoreless innings last year at Petco Park. He has only allowed someone to score in two of those six starts, and is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA in 38⅔ innings, with 44 strikeouts and six walks.
In 144 plate appearances on opening day, batters have hit .161/.201/.190 against Kershaw.
Among all Dodgers opening day starters dating back to 1913, Kershaw’s 0.93 ERA is the best for those with at least two starts. The only pitchers with a better opening day mark than Kershaw are a quartet of pitchers with a single opening day start with a 0.00 ERA — Nap Rucker (1913), Sandy Koufax (1964), Chan Ho Park (2001), and Brad Penny (2008).
Kershaw hasn’t lost to the Padres since June 21, 2013 — the Dodgers have won his last nine starts against them — and he hasn’t allowed a run to San Diego since June 12, 2015, with an active streak of 19⅔ consecutive scoreless frames against them heading into Monday.
Oh and another thing — Kershaw is coming off one of the best seasons in Dodger Stadium history. He was 8-1 with a 1.08 ERA at home last season with a ridiculous 86 strikeouts and four walks. His 1.08 ERA was tied with Orel Hershiser (1985) for the third-best ERA in a season at Dodger Stadium with a minimum of 10 starts.
Time: 1:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, ESPN