Another Gem by Kershaw

Sunday, April 11, 2021
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium where the Los Angeles Dodgers honored the fortieth anniversary of Fernandomania, the Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals 3-to-0.

For the fourth consecutive game, Mookie Betts did not play because of his stiff lower back. He is taking batting practice and running. The Dodgers hoped he will return to the lineup Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies.

It has been forty years since Fernando Valenzuela started the 1981 Opening Day against the Houston Astros. The prior September, the Dodgers promoted 19-year-old Valenzuela, and he performed well as a reliever.

Since Valenzuela impressed in September 1980, the Dodgers wanted him to be a starter in 1981. Jerry Reuss, who was supposed to be on Opening Day in 1981, pulled up lame twenty-four hours before Opening Day. Burt Hooton could not make the Opening Day start. The Mexican rookie shut out the Astros. Valenzuela won his first 8 starts. Every time he took the mound, he showed maturity beyond his years. Valenzuela was the only player who won the National League Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young awards. He was an important member of the 1981 world champion Dodgers. He was the best hitting pitcher I have seen.

For the six innings, Clayton Kershaw pitched as he did in the early years of his career. While he allowed many hits, he never seemed to be in trouble. Corey Knebel, Blake Treinen, and Kenley Jansen pitched well in relief.

Zach McKinstry drove in all three runs, including a two-run blast. n

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