Clayton Kershaw decided to just tell the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers, “I got this”, with an Opening Day 4-0 shutout of the San Francisco Giants, and a home run added in by the Dodgers’ starting pitcher just for good measure.
So I guess Kershaw wants to put his early stamp on National League Cy Young consideration.
Kershaw has six career shutouts, with three of them coming against the defending champion Giants.
Added to his success against the Dodgers’ biggest rival, Kershaw hasn’t allowed a run in three Opening Day starts, with two of those starts–2011, 2013–coming against the Giants.
I’d say San Francisco is already sick of seeing Kershaw.
According to STATS, Kershaw became the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run in an opener since Bob Lemon did it for Cleveland in 1953. The former Cy Young winner had a career .146 batting average coming into today’s game, with only one extra-base hit in 261 at-bats. After striking out in his first two at-bats of the day, Kershaw took a George Kontos pitch deep to center, which set off quite the ovation from the sellout crowd.
Kershaw is going to be one of the keys to the Dodgers’ success this season, and having him open the season with such fanfare couldn’t make the team any happier I’m sure. What had to be another positive sign for the Dodgers was seeing Kershaw use his curveball as effectively as he did. When Kershaw has that breaking pitch working, he–as witnessed today–is practically unhittable.
Kershaw was using his curve in tandem with the fastball early in the count, giving him 20 first pitch strikes against 30 batters faced in the game. Being ahead of batters early let Kershaw conserve on total pitches, throwing only 94 in the entire game.
Now Kershaw just needs to duplicate this effort through the rest of the season