Game One – Clayton Kershaw vs Ty Blach
If you were to ask any Dodger fan what they think of Clayton Kershaw and where he ranks among MLB starting pitchers, they would say one thing: he is the best. Hands down.
Not only does he get the job done whenever he takes the mound on Opening Day, but the first one always seems to have a more significant meaning to it, whether he would be quick to admit it or not. Kershaw, in Opening Day starts, carries a 5-0 record with a 0.99 ERA. His Opening Day ERA is the best since ERA became a statistic since 1913.
As odd as it may sound, the only thing Kershaw really needs to do is everything he has done in the past and pitch to his opposing man with his best stuff. Kershaw always seems to find a way to win ball games, but, Ty Blach has three hits in four at-bats against the lefty phenom – including a double. Some would say that Blach ‘owns’ Kershaw… Well, this will be a great opportunity for Clayton to put that to rest.
After taking two devastating blows in losing both Samardzija, and of course, Bumgarner both to injury before the start of the season, the Giants are turning to a 27-year-old southpaw by the name of Ty Blach to try and get the job done when they open the season at Dodger Stadium. Blach has held the Dodgers to a team batting average of only .215 and an ERA south of 2.50. So, if he can establish his stuff early and give his offense some time to figure out Kershaw, he might give San Francisco a quality chance to pull out a win.
But, working in the Dodgers’ favor is Blach’s style of pitching. Known as a groundball pitcher, Blach looks to contact for his outs. Pitching to contact against one of the best contact making teams in baseball could spell trouble for the Giants.
The area in which I see Blach struggling would be early in his start. If the Dodgers come out in 2018 like they started 2017, they will be full of spunk and some serious firepower. For early production, look no further than Chris Taylor at the top of the order. Taylor is 4-for-10 against Blach with 1 HR and 2 RBI. If they can get to Blach early and get into the San Francisco bullpen before the fifth inning, they more than likely did their job for the night.