Dodgers tab Clayton Kershaw as Opening Day starter

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From Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:

Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ opening-day starter for the third consecutive year, Manager Don Mattingly announced Saturday.

The Dodgers start their season on April 1 against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

It was a no-brainer for Mattingly, even though the Dodgers front office inked a record six-year, $147 million free agent contract with right-handed starter Zack Greinke this offseason.

Kershaw posted a dominant 2.53 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 229/63 K/BB ratio over 227 2/3 innings last summer. The 24-year-old left-hander is currently scheduled to hit the free agent market following the 2014 campaign.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”