When Clayton Kershaw stepped on the mound on Friday, something was different. For the first time in his big-league career, he took the mound as a World Series champion.
The last time we saw Kershaw, it was Game 5 of the 2020 World Series. On Friday afternoon, he made his first appearance of the spring. He pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two and issuing zero walks.
“It was good to get back out there,” Kershaw said following the game. “I got my third inning in he pen. I did mix in at least one of every pitch I have. There’s some stuff to build on for sure.”
Kershaw said that he feels great so far through camp. He said the ball was coming out extremely well and it’s a good stepping point towards the season. He added that he threw every pitch he has in his mix, including his changeup.
He’ll make a few more starts before they officially count in April. For Kershaw, if he’s healthy, you’d expect him to be out on the hill on Opening Day. However, the Dodgers open the season on the road this year, not at Dodger Stadium. Sure, starting on Opening Day is the highest honor for a pitcher, but one could argue that getting the start at Dodger Stadium for their home opener would be more significant.
“Opening Day is a special thing,” Kershaw said. “The home opener in itself this year is very special. First time at Dodger Stadium with fans in a year after winning the World Series. Whatever it is, it’s going to be a special day for all of us. I don’t know how the rotation lines up, but they’re both going to be pretty special this year.”
The Dodgers open the season with seven games on the road. If Kershaw were to start on Opening Day, he wouldn’t get the chance to start the home opener. If we were to work the rotation for that to happen, Kershaw would need to begin the season as the No. 3 starter.
“I do know that Clayton doesn’t care when he pitches,” Dave Roberts said following the game. “So, we appreciate that. Starting the home opener certainly has a lot of significance for him. Starting Opening Day does as well. We haven’t finalized that yet.”
Other news and notes
- Roberts said that Kenley Jansen struggled with his command on Thursday. “It just wasn’t where it’s been.” Up next for Jansen is pitching on either Sunday or Monday.
- One name we haven’t seen pitch yet this spring is Brusdar Graterol.
“There were some things this winter that didn’t allow for him to get off a mound and throw as consistently as he would have liked,” Roberts said. “The ramp up has been a little different from him. He’ll be on a mound in a day or two.”
Today's #DodgersST lineup vs. Padres:— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 6, 2021
: @SportsNetLA, @MLBNetwork pic.twitter.com/cSlTpRBatZ
Saturday afternoon baseball coming at you from Camelback Ranch!— San Diego Padres (@Padres) March 6, 2021
: @FOXSportsSD | @MLBNetwork
: @973TheFanSD pic.twitter.com/aqMabFG5Lf
First pitch: 12:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network