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Dodgers have their longest opening day win streak, sort of

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers have won their last seven opening days. Clayton Kershaw has started their last seven opening days. This is not a coincidence.

Joe Torre threw a curveball — or was it an eephus pitch? — and chose Vicente Padilla to start the 2010 opener, which makes for a fun pair of trivial notes given Kershaw’s dominance since and for the fact that Padilla made as many opening day starts as a Dodger as did Sandy Koufax.

Best opening day ERA

Pitcher Starts IP ERA
Pitcher Starts IP ERA
Rick Mahler 5 39 0.92
Clayton Kershaw 7 45⅔ 0.99
Bob Feller 7 52 1.21
Jim Palmer 6 51⅓ 1.40
Hal Newhouser 6 51 1.41
Bob Lemon 5 41⅔ 1.51
Walter Johnson 12 107 1.51
1908-2017 (minimum 5 starts) Source: Baseball-Reference

The Dodgers lost in Pittsburgh to the Pirates in that 2010 lid lifter. Padilla couldn’t get out of the fifth and the Pirates scored 11 runs. Since then the Dodgers pitching staff has allowed 11 total runs in seven opening days.

The bulk of that pitching work has been done by Kershaw, who will set a Dodgers record on Thursday with his eighth opening day start. His ledger for the first game of the season is nearly unblemished. He has allowed six total runs — five of them earned — in 45⅔ innings, good for a 0.99 ERA with 52 strikeouts and six walks.

Kershaw isn’t alone in the opening day success. The rest of the Dodgers pitching staff has also allowed just five total earned runs during the streak, good for a 2.60 ERA. In these seven wins the Dodgers have outscored their opponents 49-11, including 29-3 in the last two seasons.

The wins:

  • 2011: Dodgers 2, Giants 1
  • 2012: Dodgers 5, Padres 3
  • 2013: Dodgers 4, Giants 0
  • 2014: Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1 (Australia)
  • 2015: Dodgers 6, Padres 3
  • 2016: Dodgers 15, Padres 0
  • 2017: Dodgers 14, Padres 3

Seven straight opening day wins by the Dodgers is the most in franchise history, technically. From 1919 to 1922 the Brooklyn Dodgers won four straight opening days, then did the same from 1924 to 1927. But in between, in 1923, Brooklyn tied its first game, a 5-5 contest with the Phillies that was called after 14 innings, presumably because of darkness.

The Dodgers did beat Philadelphia the next day, giving them nine straight seasons starting with a 1-0 record, something these Dodgers can match with wins this year and next in their opener. But with seven straight opening day wins already under their belt, the current squad can claim something no other Dodgers team has ever done.