Kershaw set for sixth straight Opening Day nod

February 28th, 2016

PHOENIX -- Three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw will start Opening Day in San Diego on Monday, April 4, manager Dave Roberts announced on Sunday.

Kershaw also will start the first Spring Training game on Thursday against the White Sox. Roberts would not announce the rest of the rotation, but the current work schedule sets up to be Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood.

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Kershaw will be the first Dodgers pitcher to make six consecutive Opening Day starts since Don Sutton made seven, the Los Angeles record. Don Drysdale made seven total Opening Day starts and Fernando Valenzuela made six, but not in consecutive seasons.

"Every time is special, especially when it's for the same team and it means you've been here a long time," Kershaw said. "It's a cliché, but it's only one game. But it is pretty special."

Kershaw was reminded that Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax made only one Opening Day start.

"Obviously, if Sandy did it only once it must not be an important thing, because he was probably one of the best of all time. Consistency is something that's important to me. To do it six times is something that when all is said and done, I'll look back on it and enjoy it."

In his Opening Day start last year, Kershaw allowed three runs in a six-inning no-decision against San Diego that the Dodgers won late, 6-3, with three RBIs from Jimmy Rollins.

Kershaw started Opening Day in 2014 in Australia, but injured his teres major muscle and was sidelined for more than a month. In 2013, he homered in the eighth inning to beat the Giants on Opening Day, 4-0. The previous year, he went three innings in San Diego but left with a stomach ailment.

The left-hander, who turns 28 on March 19, followed up his landmark MVP and Cy Young season of 2014 by going 16-7 with a 2.13 ERA and a league-leading 301 strikeouts in '15, yet was overshadowed by the remarkable Cy Young runner-up season of Zack Greinke, who will start Opening Day for Arizona.