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Clayton Kershaw shines in 2020 debut as Dodgers win

The king is back.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

He’s back.

After missing the first week of the season, Clayton Kershaw returned on Sunday and didn’t miss a beat. He threw 5 23 innings of scoreless ball, as the Dodgers defeated the D-Backs 3-0, winning the series.

Everything was working for Kershaw this afternoon. He struck out six and didn’t walk anyone. Arizona only managed to get three hits off of him, but none of them were hit too hard. Kershaw held them in check all game.

What was most convincing from Kershaw was his velocity. He hit 93 mph, a speed he didn’t hit once last year.

Per Eric’s great research (as usual), Kershaw threw 20 pitches clocked at 92+ mph, via Baseball Savant. In 178⅓ innings total in 2019, he threw 19 such pitches. It’s only one outing, and there’s still a lot that we need to still see from him, but wow is that a really encouraging sign.

Cody Bellinger returns

After struggling to begin the season, Dave Roberts benched Cody Bellinger during yesterday’s contest. It appeared to work, as he crushed his first home run of the season in his first at bat.

The exit velocity was 109.6 mph, the Dodgers’ hardest hit ball of the season. He got out in his next at bat, but the exit velocity on his out was 105.3 mph. Definitely an encouraging sign from the reigning MVP, who desperately needed a game like this to hopefully turn things around on the season.

Mookie Betts

Yet again, Mookie Betts had an all-around great game. He hit a double, and then followed that up by hitting a homer into the pool. Oh yes, you better believe he hit one into the pool. Unfortunately, there was no pool party.

Later in the game, Betts exited with a sore middle finger. During the at-bat in which he hit a home run, Betts fouled one off and grimaced. The camera showed him repeatedly shaking his left hand. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night.

The bullpen continues to shove

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Dodgers bullpen looked great yet again. Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander and Kenley Jansen all combined to throw 3 13 innings of scoreless relief. Alexander was the most impressive, as he fanned all three hitters he faced.

Sunday particulars

WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0) 5 23 IP, 0 ER, 6 SO, 0 BB

LP: Merrill Kelly (1-1) 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 H, 4 SO

SV: Kenley Jansen (2) 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 SO

Home runs: Cody Bellinger (1), Mookie Betts (2)

Box score:

Up next

The Dodgers travel to San Diego. Walker Buehler (0-0, 4.91 ERA) takes the mound tomorrow and will face Chris Paddack (0-0, 1.64 ERA). First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA.