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Clayton Kershaw day by day: The opening day stomach flu

April 5, a two-start day

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

We have another two-start day for Clayton Kershaw, though his last April 5 start came in 2012. His two career starts on this date produced one Dodgers win, one loss, and one stomach bug.

The first of these April 5 starts came in 2011, the follow up to his first opening day start. It was the first of a brief, two-game mid-week series at Coors Field. Kershaw struck out eight and had no intentional walks in his six innings, but he also allowed three runs, including solo home runs by Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta.

In 2011, teams with a quality start at Coors Field were 42-17, and Kershaw suffered one of those losses here, thanks to Jhoulys Chacin’s seven scoreless innings. The Dodgers lost 3-0, just the third time they were ever shut out at Coors Field.

One year later, Kershaw had opening day duties again, this time against the Padres at Petco Park. But his most formidable foe on this day in San Diego was a stomach flu that nearly made Kershaw a late scratch.

From my game recap:

“After warming up, I didn’t expect him to start the game at all,” [A.J.] Ellis said of Kershaw. “He’s so routine and detail-oriented, he throws the exact same number of warmup pitches. About midway through, he looked at me and said, ‘Only five more.’ I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is not good’.”

Ellis walked with Kershaw straight to the clubhouse, as the pitcher had spend all day dealing with the stomach flu, not able to keep anything down, and Kershaw hadn’t eaten all day.

Manager Don Mattingly thought about starting Jamey Wright and essentially making it a bullpen game, but Kershaw felt good enough to take the mound to start the game. Kershaw retired the first eight batters he faced, and even got a single while batting, but it was clear he was not himself.

Kershaw was laying on the floor in between the dugout and clubhouse between innings, and his day was done early. Still, he got through three scoreless innings. Even though he allowed two singles and a walk with two outs in the third, Kershaw struck out Chase Headley to end the threat to keep the game scoreless.

The Dodgers eventually won the game, 5-3, with Josh Lindblom earning the win in relief, with two scoreless frames following Kershaw.

The outings

2011 (L, 1-1): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 unintentional walk, 8 strikeouts

2012: 3 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Up next: April 6, another two-start day