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A great first day at camp: Don Mattingly names Clayton Kershaw opening-day starter

Now, that is a proper start.

Don Mattingly, in his first real day in the clubhouse as Dodgers manager, wasted no time Wednesday in making a positive move.

He named Clayton Kershaw his opening-day starter.

You want a young guy to become your ace, you treat him like an ace.

So in Phoenix, as pitchers and catchers began to report at the Dodgers’ spring training complex, Mattingly immediately named Kershaw to start the season opener at home on March 31 against the Giants.

Last spring, then-Manager Joe Torre hemmed and hawed most of the spring before finally naming journeyman Vicente Padilla as his opening-day starter. This season, Padilla returns in the bullpen.

Torre didn’t want to rush Kershaw, fearing that placing the star tag on him too early might impede his progress.

Only now the gloves are officially off, now Kershaw is the man. Now he can start carrying out the role, and being treated like an ace.

Of course, he further earned an upgrade in status with the way he pitched last season.

Kershaw, who will turn 23 next month, had a 2.91 ERA, going 13-10 in 32 starts, with 212 strikeouts in 204 1/3 innings and a 1.18 WHIP.

Kershaw as the opening-day starter -- it’s actually a non-traditional 5 p.m. start this season -- should pit him in a terrific pitching duel against the Giants’ Tim Lincecum.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Shaping up to be an awesome opening day; KERSHAW vs lincecum... Time to run the battery chucks into the ground! Go Blue!

Kershaw already is the ace, not becoming one. Donnie is just on the ball

Torre's opening day pick last year just proved what an idiot he really was. Good for Mattingly to boldly go where no less-than-average Joe went before.

Lets just hope Donnie Baseball doesn't make 2 trips to the mound in the first inning.

GOOD MOVE DONNIE!! keep doing as you are told and you'll be fine.

In other news, Donnie said the sun will rise in the East.

was a no brainer

Good move. First of many by Donnie B. Although I must admit KoufaxFax gave me a chuckle.

"Don Mattingly, in his first real day in the clubhouse as Dodgers manager, wasted no time Wednesday in making a positive move."

- he made it out to the mound & back in just a single visit; in the same motion he returned to the dugout (then he ruined it by penning the batting order... one for the ump & a slightly different one for himself.)

It's early Dummie Baseball... but later than we think for the dudgers.

No surprise here.

Re: "First of many" by my friend S'58

I sure hope you are right on this. Like you, I'm pulling for him to get it right and for us to win games. Lots of games.

He is going to be judged and judged hard from the get-go. He has to make choices, probably daily to weekly or whatever time element he finds comfortable or is presented by pitching matchups, on LF, C and infield. And the infield involves two positions, 2B and 3B, provided Furcal is healthy and playing regularly and that he chooses Casey Blake as the everyday 3B. If he doesn't choose Blake for everyday duties, then we're shuffling lineups for LF, C, 2B, 3B. That's half of the everyday 8 to always be on top of, plus what happens late in the games.

That's a lot of choices for a first-year manager, much less a manager who came through the AL-style for 14 years playing plus his earliest days coaching. If you want to spin positive, call it options instead of choices. Either way ...

So all the best to him to make good choices - we need it. But as I say, he's going to get some judgments coming at him and right off the bat too.

And it is things like this where I say the front office has failed the organization. They knew they were going with a first-timer managing, and yet, didn't get deals done that solidify what we're doing on the field to help him.

At the very best, the front office only left him a hole in LF to juggle all the time. At the very worst, they left him to juggle and figure out the bullpen, C, LF, 2B and outside of their doing he might also, because of health or age, possibly have 3B and SS to figure.

I was so happy Casey Blake delivered at 3B in 2008 - thought it was huge defensively and in a timeliness soft of way offensively that almost flew under the Manny radar of that run. But we need Blake as much if not more this year. And I'm leaning toward more than we needed him in 2008.

I understand Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the Dodgers rotation and one of the best in the N.L but wait until at least a quarter to half way through camp before you name a starter for opening day.
I don't mean to say that I think someone else would step up so much that he would supplant Kershaw in Mattingly's mind as opening day starter but I just think it looks premature on Mattingly's part to do this.

An odvious move. The Dodgers will be in first place after the first game. Hope the kid gloves are off and we can start seeing him being allowed to pitch through jams in the 6th and 7th. Kershaw is better than Lincecum and if the Dodgers can score some runs this year he'll have the CY to prove it.

Mattingly was a gamer as a player, there is no reason that he will not be a good manager. The Dodgers are a mess right now with the ownership situation. You will not see quality players being signed, and we know the Dodgers have spent the least amount of any major league team on quality draft picks since McCourt has taken over. The Dodgers let Martin go and have a couple of back up types who cannot hit there weight for a batting average. Soon Kemp, Looney and the other young players will follow. McCourt will not let go of the team until the greedy lowlife sucks every penny he can out of it. Go back to Boston you carpetbagger. No amount of money can remove you from the lowest, vilest cesspool from the bowels of Boston. Bring back the O`malleys.


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