Major League Baseball’s 2017 regular season starts this week with opening day on Thursday March 29.
Last Friday, three-time National League Cy Young winner and Los Angeles Dodgers pitching ace Clayton Kershaw extended his scoreless streak in his last spring training games to 21 1/3 inning following an impressive 6 2/3 innings against the Kansas City Royals.
On Thursday, Kershaw will start for the Dodgers on Opening Day. In his final tune up last Friday, Kershaw gave up a leadoff single and no other hits, struck out four, and did not walk a batter in the Dodgers 10-0 victory.
Kershaw looks to be in great form leading up to Opening Day. His manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Kershaw pitched as efficient as he ever has, with everything working, as his fastball hit both sides of the plate, he had depth with his slider, and he had a sharp breaking ball.
Roberts added that Kershaw was throwing very well and that was highly encouraging to everyone.
In his six spring training starts, Kershaw allowed just 12 hits, fanned 23 and walked only four. The southpaw on Friday was appearing on the mound for the first time since celebrating his 30th birthday March 19.
Following his outing, Kershaw said that physically he feels great. He added that he has pitched during the postseason on previous occasions, but ending the season November 1, one never knows what if any affect the extra few weeks will have on you, but he feels good and is excited to start the regular season.
During this past offseason, Kershaw altered the workout routine his has. He stressed that it was not about the conditioning, but trying to remain healthy. He said that everything he has done was geared toward keeping his back healthy.
Last season Kershaw was limited to 27 starts due to a bad back, but the All-Star (seven times) still was tied for the lead in the NL with wins at 18. Kershaw on Thursday will start on Opening Day for the eighth straight season, which is a franchise record, and will be pitching on an extra day’s rest.
The Dodgers are once again favored to win the NL West, but will face another season of stiff competition from both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. The San Francisco Giants will start the season shorthanded as ace Madison Bumgarner went down with a broken bone in his pitching hand and will miss a minimum of two months.