We’ve reached our first date on the calendar with two Clayton Kershaw starts, with April 3 featuring back-to-back years with outings by the Dodgers ace. Now that we’ve moved on from March, there will be more of these multi-outing days coming soon.
Our starts in question on April 3 came in 2017 and 2018, with the former Kershaw’s seventh opening day start in a row. This brought Kershaw into a tie in opening day starts with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton for the most in franchise history.
That 2017 game was at home against the Padres, and was an opening day Dodgers romp, a 14-3 win. But it was the Padres who scored first, with Wil Myers reaching on a Corey Seager throwing error, advanced to second base on a Kershaw wild pitch, and scored on a single by Yangervis Solarte.
After that unearned run, Kershaw retired 19 straight batters, and by the time that streak was broken by a Ryan Schimpf home run the Dodgers already led by double digits. Kershaw only allowed two hits in his seven innings, striking out eight, and at the plate reached base twice himself with a hit and a walk.
From my game recap:
Despite allowing only the one earned run, his career opening day ERA actually rose, to 0.99. Since 1920, the only pitcher with a better opening day ERA (with a minimum of five starts) is the immortal Rick Mahler, at 0.92.
Exactly one year later, Kershaw was on the mound again, this time in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. This was on four days rest after his 2018 opening day start at home. The Dodgers lost this one, with Arizona feasting on the Dodgers bullpen after Kershaw left, a 6-1 D-backs win.
From Ryan Walton’s game recap:
It was a familiar scene for Dodger ace, Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander was once again lifted after six innings of work with his team down by one run. This time the score was 2-1 after Kershaw gave up solo homers to Daniel Descalso and David Peralta.
Home runs accounted for 34 of the 49 runs that Kershaw allowed in 2017. All three allowed in this season have come by way of the homer.
That told the story in the early going for Kershaw in 2018. After two starts he allowed three runs — all solo home runs — in 12 innings, a 2.25 ERA but he was 0-2.
2017 (W, 1-0): 7 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs (1 unearned), 8 strikeouts
2018 (L, 0-2): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Up next: April 4, another opening day start, and only a single-start day