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Clayton Kershaw draws Dodgers’ Opening Day assignment for ninth time

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error GLENDALE, Ariz. — Same as it ever was.After a one-year pause, Clayton Kershaw will be back in his familiar place on Opening Day – starting for the Dodgers. Manager Dave Roberts made the assignment official after Monday’s morning workout at Camelback Ranch.The Opening Day start will be Kershaw’s ninth, a franchise record. He started every Opening Day from 2011 through 2018 (a franchise record for consecutive season-opening starts). Last spring, however, he was sidelined by a sore shoulder and opened the season on the injured list. Hyun-Jin Ryu made start on Opening Day instead.“It’s cool. I feel like I say it every year, but I don’t take it lightly,” Kershaw said. “It is an honor. It is just one game, but it is an honor to get the start. Opening Day is a special day in baseball and to get to be part of it is really cool.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “It was hard a little bit. You want to be a part of it,” he said. “It was also kind of fun to take in an Opening Day especially how well it went. I think we hit seven or eight homers. So it was really fun doing that. But, yeah, it was a little sad. I got over it quickly. But it was a little sad, for sure.”Kershaw has been a very good opener for the Dodgers. They have won seven of his eight previous Opening Day starts and Kershaw has allowed no runs in half of the starts, one earned run in three others.Overall, Kershaw is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 51-2/3 innings on Opening Day.The record for most Opening Day starts is held by Hall of Famer Tom Seaver (16, 11 with the New York Mets). Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez (11) have made the most Opening Day starts among active players.“Yeah, I don’t know,” Kershaw said when asked if he could match Seaver. “One at a time. One at a time. … That’s a lot. Worry about March 26. I’ve got to make it to March 26.”LEANING LEFTThe Dodgers had four left-handers in their starting rotation at times during the 2018 and 2017 seasons (Kershaw, Rich Hill, Ryu and Wood) as well as 2016 (Kershaw, Wood, Urias and Scott Kazmir). Roberts was asked again Monday if he sees a problem in that.“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think that it doesn’t seem, from the outside looking in, as optimum … as far as the balance. But … every day is different. Each of these guys has a different mix.“These are our five best pitchers and I feel good about it.”STAFF LEADERThe Opening Day start is as much symbolic as anything. In Kershaw’s case, it reinforces his role as the leader of the Dodgers’ pitching staff – both for his accomplishments (three Cy Young awards) and his work ethic and accountability.Related Articles Roberts said the decision came down to Kershaw or Walker Buehler and it was a “difficult decision” because of “what Walker has done, what we expect him to do this year.”Kershaw said there was a three-way discussion about who would get the assignment on March 26 against the San Francisco Giants.“I talked to Walker about it too and Doc and I,” Kershaw said. “We kind of all got together and I said I don’t want a charity Opening Day. If you want me to do it, great. But if you want Walker to do it, great too. Walker was great about it. I’m thankful that I get to do it.”Buehler will start the second game of the season with David Price making his Dodgers debut on March 28 against the San Francisco Giants. After an off day, Julio Urias and Alex Wood will start the first two games of the series against the Colorado Rockies.Missing out on last year’s Opening Day start doesn’t make this one any more meaningful, Kershaw said. But he acknowledged it was not easy sitting out the start of last season. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img “You know what – leadership is a strange thing. It doesn’t come just by being a veteran guy,” said Kershaw, who will turn 32 the week before Opening Day. “I want to be a guy who people can talk too. I want to be a guy who people can watch. I don’t take that for granted if people do see me as a leader.“But I don’t consider myself that. I don’t call myself that – especially we’ve got guys like David Price here now. We’ve got lots of guys who have had a lot of success and Walker, he doesn’t need a lot of help. It’s almost a mutual relationship as far as helping each other.”ALSOThe Dodgers continued trimming their spring roster, sending seven more players to minor-league camp following Monday’s game — catcher Keibert Ruiz, infielders Zach McKinstry, Jacob Amaya and Omar Estevez, outfielders DJ Peters and Luke Raley and right-hander Brett de Geus. There are 44 players left in big-league camp. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season last_img read more