Dodgers Ace Kershaw Heads to the Hill on Buck Night


Ross Ohlendorf gets the start tonight against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Ohlendorf did not face L.A. last season.

Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Dodgers.  Many L.A. fans thought Kershaw should have been given the opening day start, especially after getting the ball in Game one of the NL Championship series against the Phillies.  Manager Joe Torre explains his reasoning in this post at Dodgers.com.

USA Today had this to say about Kershaw:

Torre gave that growth a boost at the beginning of spring training, and amped up the Kershaw-Koufax comparisons, when he put the two lefties together at a function for Torre’s Safe at Home charity. 

Koufax appeared at the event and shared a private jet back to the Dodgers’ Phoenix-area spring camp with Torre, Kershaw and some Dodgers coaches. Kershaw and Koufax spent the hour flight talking pitching, much to Torre’s delight. “We talked for an hour and it was unbelievable,” Kershaw told reporters when he returned to camp. “I learned more on one plane trip than I have in a long time.”

 So, for a pitcher with a 13-13 career record, including 8-8 last year, how fair are the comparisons?

Kershaw’s 8-8 record and 2.79 ERA compares favorably with Koufax’s 1957 season, when at the same age he was 5-4 with a 3.88 ERA. Kershaw pitched more innings, 171 to 104⅓, mostly because all but one of his 31 appearances were starts. Koufax had 13 starts as a 21-year-old and 21 relief appearances. Kershaw struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings and had a strikeout-walk ratio of 2.03. Koufax’s numbers were 10.5 and 2.39.

Koufax hardly had emerged as a star at that point, which is perhaps the most instructive piece of the comparisons. Through the 1960 season, when Koufax was 24, he had a 36-40 career record and 4.10 ERA. He broke out with 18 wins in ’61, then led the NL in ERA for the next five years before an arthritic elbow ended his career.

Coulda, woulda, shoulda says the LA Timesabout Andre Ethier who stranded five Dodger baserunners:

A couple of feet here, a few inches there and the Dodgers could have celebrated opening day with a victory instead of the 11-5 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

“You know, that’s the way my season goes,” Ethier said. “I don’t get cheap hits.”

The final box score indicated that Ethier went one for five with a double and a run, but failed to show the hard-hit balls that somehow ended up in Pirates gloves at critical junctures in the game.

Click here for the  breakdowns and to read this quote from John Russell says everyone is ”poking fun at us.”

Tags: Andre Ethier Clayton Kershaw Ross Ohlendorf Sandy Koufax