Kershaw Opens 2019 Season in OKC

Lisa Johnson
Apr 9 · 5 min read

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw records six strikeouts during a Major League rehab assignment in front of a sellout crowd of 12,472 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

Clayton Kershaw took the mound for the OKC Dodgers to open the 2019 season April 4 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw pitched 4.1 innings for the Oklahoma City Dodgers while on a Major League rehab assignment as OKC opened the 2019 season Thursday, April 4 against the San Antonio Missions in front of a sellout crowd of 12,472 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

Clayton Kershaw takes the field for the OKC Dodgers April 4. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

Kershaw pitched in a game for the first time in 2019 while recovering from shoulder soreness that sent him to the 10-day Injured List to begin the Los Angeles Dodgers’ season.

The seven-time MLB All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award-winner and 2014 National League Most Valuable Player threw 61 pitches for Oklahoma City, including 42 strikes and faced 17 batters.

He allowed two runs on four hits, including a home run, two walks and six strikeouts, including striking out the side in the third inning.

Clayton Kershaw on the mound at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark April 4. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

The outing with OKC marked Kershaw’s first official game action since a decisive Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium.

Clayton Kershaw prepares to throw a pitch for the OKC Dodgers. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

Kershaw finished the 2018 regular season ranked among National League pitchers with a minimum of 25 starts in ERA (2.73, 4th), strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.34, 3rd), WHIP (1.04, 4th), opponent on-base percentage (.264, 4th), opponent OPS (.630, 8th) and opponent batting average (.227, 11th).

Kershaw did not appear in a Cactus League game for Los Angeles and his injury to begin the 2019 season snapped his stretch of eight straight years as the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter — tied for most in franchise history.

Clayton Kershaw looks on from the OKC Dodgers’ dugout. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

In the first inning of his appearance in Oklahoma City, Kershaw walked leadoff batter Corey Ray on nine pitches, then later picked him off first base as part of a scoreless, hitless frame with one strikeout.

The Mission’s Tyrone Taylor hit the first pitch of the second inning down the left field line for a solo homer to put PCL newcomer San Antonio in front, 1–0. Jacob Nottingham added a RBI single later in the frame for a 2–0 Missions lead.

Clayton Kershaw was the OKC Dodgers’ starting pitcher on Opening Day at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark April 4. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

Kershaw struck out the side in the top of the third inning before striking out in his lone at-bat in the bottom of the frame.

He allowed a leadoff single to Troy Stokes in the fourth inning before getting Lucas Erceg to hit into a double play and Tyler Saladino to ground out to end the inning.

Kershaw faced one batter in the top of the fifth inning, getting Nottingham to ground out, before he exited the game to a standing ovation and was replaced on the mound by OKC reliever Joe Broussard.

The Dodgers later evened up the score, 2–2, in the bottom of the sixth inning on a RBI single by Matt Beaty and RBI double by Edwin Ríos.

The score remained tied until San Antonio pinch-hitter Jake Hager hit a two-run triple to center field in the top of the ninth inning to give the Missions a two-run advantage. The Missions added another run when Hager scored on a wild pitch by Dodgers pitcher Justin Grimm later in the frame for a three-run lead.

The Dodgers were unable to complete a comeback against the Missions in the bottom of the ninth inning despite Kyle Garlick hitting a solo home run, and San Antonio hung on to win the game, 5–3.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw met with members of the media after his Major League rehab appearance with the OKC Dodgers April 4 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Video by Lisa Johnson/OKC Dodgers.

Kershaw was named a MLB All-Star each season from 2011–17, won a Rawlings Gold Glove in 2011, was named NL MVP in 2014 and won the Cy Young Award in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

April 4 marked Clayton Kershaw’s second career ML rehab appearance in Oklahoma City. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

Since the start of the live ball era in 1920, Kershaw owns the lowest all-time ERA (2.39) and WHIP (1.00) among starting pitchers with more than 1,500.0 innings, while his .207 opponent average ranks third among pitchers with that qualifier. He was the first pitcher to win the MLB ERA title four straight seasons (2011–14) and led the Majors with a career-high 21 wins in both 2011 and 2014.

He previously pitched in OKC as part of a rehab outing Aug. 26, 2017 against Omaha, striking out eight of the 16 batters he faced over 5.0 innings, allowing one run on two hits and no walks in front of the third-largest crowd in Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark history (13,106).

Kershaw has also made additional stops in OKC as a four-time winner of the Warren Spahn Award (2011, 2013, 2014, 2017), presented annually to the best left-handed pitcher in MLB.

Clayton Kershaw started on the mound at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark April 4. Photo by Cody Roper/OKC Dodgers.

Beyond the Bricks

Lisa Johnson

Written by

Communications Coordinator for the Oklahoma City Dodgers

Beyond the Bricks

an inside look at the Oklahoma City Dodgers

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