LOS ANGELES-Dodgers pitching ace and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw took the mound on his seventh consecutive Opening Day start and allowed two runs on just two hits in seven innings while striking out eight and collected his first win of the 2017 season, beating the Padres 14-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 53,701 at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw has now gone 5-0 in his seven Opening Day starts. He also was productive at the plate, going 1-for-2 with two runs scored and one walk.
Former Dodger pitcher and living legend Sandy Koufax, sitting in the first row of the owners seats behind the plate, also a lefty, must have been impressed with Kershaw’s performance.
Kershaw was helped by a lot of run production, sparked by Joc Pederson’s grand slam in the third inning and Yasmani Grandal then hitting a solo shot to give them back-to-back blasts.
It was the first Dodgers Opening Day grand slam since Eric Karros, who accomplished the feat on April 3, 2000 at Montreal. Pederson drove in a career-high five runs, which was the most in a Dodger season-opener since Raul Mondesi, who recorded six RBI on April 5, 1999.
Grandal also blasted a second long ball with a two-run homer in the eighth, giving him his seventh career multi-homer game and the first multi-home run game by a Dodger on Opening Day since Mondesi on April 5, 1999 against Montreal.
Grandal’s home runs came from both sides of the plate, the third time in his career.
Corey Seager also hit a three-run homer which gave the Dodgers four, the most in franchise history on Opening Day.
Justin Turner continued to swing a hot bat since Spring Training as he finished the day going 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. The Dodgers organization was wise to re-sign him when he was a free agent this past summer along with star closer Kenley Jansen.
One knows that the Dodgers have much depth on their roster if Yasiel Puig is batting in the 8th spot on the Opening Day lineup.
It must have been Opening Day jitters for the Padres and pitcher Christian Bethancourt who came in to relieve starter Jhoulys Chacin. Bethancourt allowed two runs to score on two wild pitches in the fourth inning. Bethancourt, usually a catcher, has been turned into an experiment by the Padres.
He’s going to serve as a catcher, pitcher, outfielder and pinch-hitter this season. Chacin allowed a career-high nine runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings. The outlook for the Padres doesn’t look good, while the Dodgers are on a path to be very competitive this season. The Padres dropped its third consecutive season-opener, all to the Dodgers.
Dodger manager Dave Roberts seemed confident after the game when he spoke about the team’s chances this season and Kershaw.
“He’s expected to throw a shut-out every game,” Roberts said. That’s how good Kershaw is.
“With our guys, every night something special could happen,” Roberts said about the team. “You saw today there wasn’t any letup. Regardless of the score, our guys continued to press on. Sometimes you lose your edge in lopsided games and give away at-bats to where you’re not as focused, and today that didn’t happen.”
Stay tuned and see just how special and focused this Dodger team can be as they embark on a journey of 161 more regular season games.