Dave Roberts has been asked daily, or close to it, who will be the Opening Day Starter. This came to an abrupt end on Sunday when he announced that Clayton Kershaw was named as the Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day Starter for the ninth time, which is a new franchise record. Roberts mentioned in the presser that there were a lot of things that needed to be discussed. This is the last year of Kershaw’s contract, and he does not have much else to prove on the field. He has mentioned the possibility of this being his last year, though it does not seem all that likely. However, it does raise questions about whether he starts the actual opener or the home opener. Also, should the rotation be adjusted to allow for both games to be started by Kershaw?
Perhaps Kershaw wants to pitch in his ninth Opening Day starter honor, and then participate in the festivities of the home opener. All of the things were discussed between Roberts, Kershaw, and the front office, according to Roberts. The decision was finalized that barring any injury situation, Kershaw would start Opening Day in 2021. Kershaw was supposed to start his ninth Opening Day last year, but a last-minute back discomfort pushed his start back. Kershaw’s last-minute scratch paved the way for Dustin May to be the first Dodgers rookie to be the Opening Day starter since Fernando Valenzuela did it in 1981. Kershaw also missed out on his ninth Opening Day start in 2019 when he started the season on the Injured List. So if that were not the case, this would likely be his 11th consecutive Opening Day starter honor.
Opening Day Starter History
The Dodgers have a storied past when it comes to starting pitching. They have had some good ones, each with several opening-day starts. The man atop that list is none other than Clayton Kershaw, who is already in the top slot with eight. After Kershaw comes the Dons, Don Sutton, and Don Drysdale—both with seven. Fernando was the Opening Day Starter six times, and Ramon Martinez five times. Here is a fun Dodgers fact: all five of these starters were home-grown Dodgers. The next wave of talented, home-grown Dodger pitching talent is looking strong as well, with Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.
Embed from Getty Images