For the first time since 2010, somebody other than Clayton Kershaw will be getting the start for the Dodgers on Opening Day.
Heading into the 2019 season, a lot of questions surrounded the back-to-back National League champions. With a plethora of talent and a lot of young prospects, it was uncertain as to how the Dodgers would shape out come Opening Day.
However, there was one question that was seemingly already answered. For the last eight seasons, Clayton Kershaw has gotten the start for the first game of the season. Having set the Dodgers record last season for most consecutive opening day starts (8), Kershaw looked destined to make his ninth consecutive this year.
Kershaw is no stranger to injury. Over the last three seasons, he has dealt with injuries in his back and most recently his shoulder. With the inflammation in his shoulder getting worse, he was held out of camp for a few weeks.
This raised many questions for the Dodgers’ ace. There were several talks in the clubhouse that Kershaw would be able to push through and be ready come Opening Day. Dave Roberts’ optimism fell short as it would benefit the team if Kershaw were to rest and remain healthy.
Last week, Roberts announced that Kershaw will start off the season on the injured list, thus breaking his historic record.
It is hard to say if there will ever be another Dodger who will top Kershaw’s streak of eight consecutive starts. He held a 1.05 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 31.2 innings pitched on Opening Days, a rather impressive stat for the 3-time CY Young winner.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Aaron Judge leaving Giants directionless is another massive win for Dodgers
- Cody Bellinger avoided breaking Dodgers fans’ hearts with free agency decision
- Trea Turner spurns Dodgers for Phillies, Gavin Lux is now LA’s shortstop
- Which Dodgers top prospects deserve to crack 2023 Opening Day roster?
- 4 big moves at Winter Meetings Dodgers fans should be anticipating
Prior to Kershaw’s eight, Don Sutton held the previous record. Sutton went seven consecutive Opening Day starts from 1972-78. The next best in franchise history is four consecutive starts held by Fernando Valenzuela (83-86), Don Drysdale (58-61), and Ramon Martinez (95-98).
There are several recent pitchers who have surpassed Kershaw on consecutive Opening Day starts. C.C. Sabathia has 9, while Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez have 10 respectively. Hernandez is the only player who’s all came with the same team.
Keeping a streak of eight consecutive Opening Day starts will be a difficult one to surpass. The lingering future of potential trades and contracts being opted out of is always a factor. Along with it being hard to stay healthy for that many years when you are, essentially, your team’s ace.
Robin Roberts of the Phillies, saw this task as a simple one as he holds the all-time record at 12 consecutive Opening Day starts for the same team. Currently, the longest active streak stands at six and belongs to Julio Teheran who will start for the Braves.
With Kershaw not going out there for number nine, it allows us to sit back and appreciate the true greatness we’ve been privileged to watch for the last decade. Many greats have suited up for the Dodgers, and many greats will likely suit up in the future. However, we’ll likely never see anyone surpass what Kershaw has accomplished.