Clayton Kershaw did not want ‘charity’ Opening Day start
Clayton Kershaw is getting the nod for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day once again, but it is far from a legacy token.
The former Cy Young winner told reporters on Monday that the decision for him to get the Opening Day start was made after close consultation with manager Dave Roberts and rising star Walker Buehler.
“We kind of all got together and I said I don’t want a charity Opening Day,” said Kershaw, per Bill Plunkett of the OC Register. “If you want me to do it, great. But if you want Walker to do it, great too. Walker was great about it. I’m thankful that I get to do it.”
The 31-year-old Kershaw (16-5 with a 3.03 ERA and 189 strikeouts) actually had very similar numbers last year to the 25-year-old Buehler (14-4 with a 3.26 ERA and 215 strikeouts). Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed with Arizona this offseason, started for the Dodgers on Opening Day last season, but Kershaw was unavailable to start due to shoulder inflammation.
The way that his year ended obviously left a bad taste in people’s mouths, but Kershaw has earned the right to keep taking the hill on Opening Day beyond just his reputation.