Kershaw Will Start Opening Day

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

The Los Angeles Dodgers have miscellaneous news. On July 23rd, Clayton Kershaw will make his 9th Opening Day start during his career. The Dodgers will face the San Francisco Giants.

Right-handed pitcher Jimmy Nelson, who came from the Milwaukee Brewers this January, elected to have back surgery and miss the 2020 season.

Gavin Luz, Kenley Jansen, Pedro Báez, AJ Pollock, and Scott Alexander have not reported to summer camp yet.

All the teams have players who either opted out or have not shown up to summer camp yet. The integrity of the season was already in question with the 60-game schedule, but with many stars of the game opting out or not showing up, the quality of the competition will be less than what Major League Baseball fans have grown accustomed to.

Many players are afraid to play because of COVID-19. Although Major League Baseball has a ton of health protocols, they have not been able to follow them during the past holiday weekend. In forty states, the cases of COVID-19 have been rising. There is a possibility for Major League Baseball will cancel the 2020 season before Opening Day for health reasons.

The Dodger pitching staff has been hit hard with pitchers not showing up and with David Price opting out. However, the Dodger organization has much pitching depth that its competitiveness should not be affected. Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Alex Wood give the Dodgers a strong nucleus in the starting rotation. Neither Julio Urias nor Ross Stripling, who is slated to be the Dodger 4th and 5th starters, are shabby.

Missing Jansen, Báez, and Alexander out of the bullpen could be disastrous for most teams. Nevertheless, the Dodgers have Joe Kelly, Blake Treinen, Dustin May, and Brusdar Graterol to pick up the slack.

When healthy, Kelly is nasty. Not many hitters can make solid contact, but Kelly has a long history of control problems, making him a streaky pitcher. A 60-game schedule could be a godsend or a nightmare for Kelly.

Treinen was the major bullpen acquisition for the Dodgers during the 2019 winter meetings. Coming off a subpar 2019 performance while in Oakland, Treinen looks to redeem himself in LA.

Although the Dodgers envision May as a starter, with his long flame-red hair and throwing smoke, May could be a natural fearsome closer. He knows how to change speeds effectively. During the 2019 spring training, a strained oblique slowed him, but May is healthy.

Graterol came to the Dodgers from the Minnesota Twins in the Kenta Maeda deal. At 21, Graterol needs more seasoning in the Minor Leagues, but with his 102 miles-per-hour fastball and the 60-game schedule, the Dodgers might be prudent to use Graterol in the Major Leagues.

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