When the Los Angeles Dodgers faced off against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day many people thought it would be a pitcher’s duel. LA was sending Clayton Kershaw to the bump, while the Giants chose Matt Cain to open their season.
However, no one expected a 0-0 game heading into the eighth inning. It was the definition of a true pitcher’s duel and was exactly what fantasy baseball fans wanted from the first west coast game of the year.
Cain left the game after a meager 92 pitches. He got through six innings, but only allowed four hits and one walk. The righty also struck out eight batters in the game. It was a rather strong all-around performance for Cain, but it was completely overshadowed by the gem that Kershaw turned in.
Kershaw was simply automatic on the mound. He somehow threw just 94 pitches through nine innings of scoreless work and only allowed four hits on the entire afternoon. Kershaw also struck out seven batters and didn’t give up a single walk. He was hitting every location and his curveball was simply unhittable.
However, the biggest play from Kershaw ironically came with his bat. He led off the eighth inning and the southpaw came up big yet again. In a 0-0 game, Kershaw stepped into the batter’s box and crushed a solo home run to give the team the 1-0 lead. The Dodgers looked rather timid at the plate all day, but Kershaw’s first career home run certainly energized the team as they left the inning with a 4-0 lead.
Most fantasy leagues don’t award points for home runs from pitchers, but the fact that the homer broke a scoreless tie for Kershaw was what really mattered. The home run enabled the fireballer to get the victory by way of a complete game shutout and the jaw-dropping performance will be hard to top this year.
Kershaw is already stating his claim for the 2013 NL Cy Young and fantasy pitcher of the year. If you doubt it, just take look at the action on his curveball on Opening Day.