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Clayton Kershaw’s incredible consistency against the Giants

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw will try to get the Dodgers off to the right start for an eight consecutive season on Thursday afternoon when he takes on the rival Giants on opening day at Dodger Stadium.

The numbers Kershaw has been able to post against San Francisco are incredible, and always a go-to when the Dodgers face their longtime rivals.

In 40 career starts against the Giants, 38 have been quality starts. In more than half of those starts (21) Kershaw has allowed zero or one run. He has walked more than one batter just once in his last 22 starts against San Francisco.

On opening day against the Giants (2011, 2013) Kershaw has yet to allow a run, with 16 strikeouts and one walk in 16 innings. He also hit his only career home run, five years ago to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning against George Kontos.

Clayton Kershaw vs. Giants

Year Starts IP ERA
Year Starts IP ERA
2008 0 1 0.00
2009 1 7 1.29
2010 4 29 1.55
2011 6 42 1.07
2012 5 39 1.62
2013 5 39 1.38
2014 4 32 1.69
2015 5 38⅓ 2.11
2016 5 36 2.00
2017 5 34 1.59
Totals 40 297⅓ 1.60
Source: Baseball-Reference

Kershaw’s career ERA against San Francisco is a minuscule 1.60 in 297⅓ innings. That’s some 1933 Carl Hubbell business.

Kershaw has begun 299 career innings against the Giants, and he has completed 252 of them (84.3%) scoreless. He has been removed in the middle of an inning five times in 40 starts against the Giants.

But what stands out amid Kershaw’s gaudy numbers against the rival Giants is just how consistent he has been. We are talking between four and six starts against SF every year for the last eight years, and his highest ERA in any season against them was 2.11, in 2015.

Kershaw’s 1.029 WHIP in 34 innings against the Giants in 2017 (to go with a 1.59 ERA) was the worst of his career (except for his one relief inning as a rookie in 2008, when he allowed two hits and a walk, but no runs of course).

Ty Blach starts for the Giants, filling in for an injured Madison Bumgarner, who broke his pinkie in is final spring start. Blach has a 2.23 ERA in 36⅓ innings against the Dodgers, including eight scoreless innings to beat Kershaw and the Dodgers on Oct. 1, 2016 at AT&T Park.

“It’s just a game,” Blach told Alex Pavlovic of NBC Bay Area on Sunday. “I’ve pitched against him twice in my career and it’s been a good game both times. It’ll be good to take on that challenge.”

Game info

Time: 4:08 p.m. PT

TV: ESPN

Streaming: Watch ESPN

Radio: 570 AM