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Monday, April 01, 2013

Clayton Kershaw hits a home run, twirls a shutout on opening day

With all due respect to Bryce Harper, who had a pretty great day of his own, Clayton Kershaw just turned in the best performance of opening day so far. The Dodgers’ ace hit a solo homer and pitched a complete-game shutout against the rival Giants on Monday afternoon.

Kershaw, 25, hit the homer on George Kontos’ first pitch of the eighth inning. The game was scoreless at the time, so it wasn’t a cheap tack-on homer or anything. It was pretty big. The Dodgers went on to score three more runs in the inning, but it was Kershaw who helped his own cause and give the club the lead. The blast was his first career homer.

On the mound, the southpaw struck out seven and walked zero in those nine scoreless innings. He allowed only four singles, and one of those base runners was erased on a caught stealing. Pablo Sandoval reached second base on a wild pitch with two outs in the first, but otherwise no Giant made it beyond first base. Most impressively, Kershaw needed only 94 pitches in the win.

Thanks to Chet.

Repoz Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:07 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. DanO Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:15 PM (#4401664)
Feh.
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4401691)
Kershaw in the lead for game winning rbi's... now that is a stat they need to bring back.
   3. RollingWave Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4401696)
WTF, I just realized what a nice season Kontos had last year, and the Yankees traded him for Chris fing Stewart?
   4. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:05 PM (#4401701)
Yeah, we'll get around to that whole DH thing anytime now. Keep holding your breath.
   5. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:43 PM (#4401716)
I know it's proper baseball parlance, but doesn't "twirl" just seem the wrong way to describe a well pitched Clayton Kershaw game?

Like the connotation's all wrong and "twirl" implies a level of guile, cunning and fustigating craft that a hard-thrower like Kershaw doesn't bring to the table.

Tommy John, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Tanana (MK. II), and Jamie Moyer.

Those guys could really twirl the ball ...
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4401717)
He also took your mom out to a nice steak dinner and didn't call her afterwords.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: April 01, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4401725)
Takes the early MVP lead away from Harper.
   8. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 01, 2013 at 11:45 PM (#4401737)
Never investigated, but I always thought "twirler" came from an elaborate windup, and not the actual pitches.
   9. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:09 AM (#4401748)
I missed baseball the last few months.
   10. Al Kaline Trio Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:15 AM (#4401752)
CG and a HR? If that wasn't worth 1 WAR then the stat is broken
   11. akrasian Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:39 AM (#4401771)
Interesting (to me) factoid during the telecast. The Dodgers have had 5 starting pitchers hit a home run on opening day. Drysdale did it twice, the last time in 1965. Kershaw is the first one since then.

Also, for those who missed the telecast (i.e., most of you). They clowned around before hand, introducing key players from the 1963 and 1988 World Series champions, and when they introduced Orel Hershiser they named him as the catcher for the first pitch - with Magic Johnson the owner throwing out the first pitch. At which point Mattingly came out and called for a reliever, with Sandy Koufax replacing Magic and throwing the first pitch. Theatrical, but fun. Overblown, but it was impossible to fake the emotion that was felt for Koufax by the crowd and the players.
   12. zachtoma Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:28 AM (#4401782)
Emotional homecoming as Koufax had been on the outs with the Dodgers organization in recent years. Bringing him back into the fold and letting Magic ham it up for the fans shows how savvy the new ownership group is in terms of PR.
   13. boteman Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:33 AM (#4401785)
#11 - Get the video before it gets yanked down.
   14. boteman Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:34 AM (#4401786)
...shows how savvy the new ownership group is in terms of PR.

Just wait until Stan Kasten starts raving about the brisket!! That'll put butts in seats!
   15. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:50 AM (#4401790)
@13 - thanks for that, I enjoyed it in all its cheesiness.
   16. Drexl Spivey Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:53 AM (#4401795)
Koufax looked good in that video.

Even though he bounced the first pitch (from the mound) roughly five feet in front of the catcher, not many men his age would be able to do that.
   17. BrianBrianson Posted: April 02, 2013 at 06:34 AM (#4401803)
CG and a HR? If that wasn't worth 1 WAR then the stat is broken


Not sure if serious, but replacement level pitchers don't lose 100% of their games.
   18. bobm Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:01 AM (#4401805)
The Dodgers have had 5 starting pitchers hit a home run on opening day. Drysdale did it twice, the last time in 1965. Kershaw is the first one since then.

Did the 5th come before 1916?

From 1916 to 2013, Played: P, In team's first 1 games, (requiring HR>=1), sorted by most recent date

                                                          
Rk             Player       Date  Tm Opp    Rslt PA HR RBI
1     Clayton Kershaw 2013-04-01 LAD SFG  W  4-0  3  1   1
2         Joe Magrane 1988-04-04 STL CIN  L  4-5  3  1   3
3         Rick Rhoden 1982-04-10 PIT STL  W 11-7  3  1   2
4          Dan McGinn 1969-04-08 MON NYM W 11-10  1  1   1
5         Gary Peters 1969-04-08 CHW OAK  L  2-5  2  1   1
6         Earl Wilson 1968-04-10 DET BOS  L  3-7  2  1   1
7        Don Drysdale 1965-04-12 LAD NYM  W  6-1  4  1   2
8        Warren Spahn 1960-04-12 MLN PIT  W  4-3  3  1   1
9        Don Drysdale 1959-04-11 LAD CHC  L  1-6  1  1   1
10   Johnny Antonelli 1956-04-17 NYG PIT  W  4-3  3  1   1
11         Frank Lary 1956-04-17 DET KCA  L  1-2  3  1   1
12        Paul Minner 1954-04-13 CHC STL  W 13-4  5  1   3
13          Bob Lemon 1953-04-14 CLE CHW  W  6-0  4  1   1
14     Allie Reynolds 1948-04-19 NYY WSH  W 12-4  5  1   3
15         Curt Davis 1945-04-17 BRO PHI  W  8-2  4  1   2
16        Clay Bryant 1938-04-19 CHC CIN  W  8-7  1  1   1
17     Earl Whitehill 1934-04-17 WSH BOS  W  6-5  2  1   1
18        George Uhle 1930-04-15 DET SLB  W  6-3  3  1   2
19       Larry Benton 1929-04-18 NYG PHI  W 11-9  1  1   2
20          Bob Smith 1928-04-11 BSN NYG  L  2-5  3  1   2
21     Pete Alexander 1925-04-14 CHC PIT  W  8-2  3  1   2


   19. Walt Davis Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4401811)
So 324 HR vs. 33-0, 0.000 ERA with 33 HR?
   20. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 02, 2013 at 08:43 AM (#4401818)
Kershaw has a 1.28 career ERA against SF.
   21. bunyon Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:04 AM (#4401828)
I nearly bailed on the video before it got to the field. It was all cheesy as hell but I enjoyed it. I'm quite susceptible to cheese.

So 324 HR vs. 33-0, 0.000 ERA with 33 HR?

Kershaw had the better day, hands down. However, the way you list the stats, it looks like a better season for Kershaw. BUT, you left some stuff out:

Harper: 500/2000/500, 324HR, 324RBI, 324R, fielding percentage 1.000, 162 double plays started.

That might win.
   22. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4401835)
33-0. 0.000 ERA, with 300 IP.
   23. bunyon Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4401840)
Yeah, but that is 33 wins. Wonderful. If I told you that the Nationals would start every game up 2-0 and get one rally killing double play gratis in 162 games, how many wins does that add?

It goes back to value of a pitcher vs. a position player, I guess and given that neither stat line is going to be approached is probably a silly argument. My apologies.

EDIT: and it would be 297 innings. :)
   24. SG Posted: April 02, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4401843)
Not sure if serious, but replacement level pitchers don't lose 100% of their games.


Right. They would lose something like 70% of their games.

Figure the HR is worth 1.4 runs in context-neutral batting runs, and 9 shutout innings is worth something like 5 runs over replacement level. I guess you give Kershaw's offense a position-adjustment too. So what, 0.65-0.7 WAR?
   25. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4401879)
It's not too surprising that there aren't Player Value stats for 2013 on baseball-reference yet for Harper and Kershaw, but while their batting lines aren't on there, fielding and Kershaw's pitching are current.
   26. gehrig97 Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4401969)
That Koufax bit was just wonderful. Try not to smile when watching. Might've been the best Opening Day 'ceremony' I've seen. The Yanks had some fun playing the "Evil Empire" theme when announcing rosters, but the Dodgers really hit the right notes with Magic/Mattingly/Scully and Sandy.
   27. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4402043)
Koufax's first pitch made it all goosebumpy in my house.

And the game itself was one of the most entertaining I've watched in a while. A big key was the first-inning Kemp-vs-Cain 11-pitch showdown. Cain threw 29 pitches in that inning, and with early-season pitch counts you knew he wasn't going to go long into the game.

Cain: 6 IP, 93 pitches.
Kershaw: 9 IP, 94 pitches.
   28. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4402051)
I'm pretty sure Kershaw never broke a sweat.

It had no bearing on the game's outcome, but had the Dodgers lost 1-0 or something, Carl Crawford's decision to try to steal third with one out in that first inning and Adrian Gonzalez (a LHB, even) at the plate would have loomed large. Oops.
   29. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4402084)
Took a perfect throw to nail Crawford, but I didn't like him going either.
   30. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4402087)
I'm pretty sure Kershaw never broke a sweat.
He was having trouble in the first, mostly with his fastball's location (high). But he was changing speeds so well, that gave him breathing room to settle down.
   31. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4402102)
I just watched the highlights. That Kershaw guy is pretty good.
   32. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4402111)
I just watched the highlights. That Kershaw guy is pretty good.
I predict he will earn hundreds of dollars playing this game.
   33. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4402124)
Painting the corners with 94-95 MPH fastballs and then throwing that sick curveball makes him seem almost (am I allowed to say this?) Koufax-like.

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