Clayton Kershaw does it all in Opening Day win over Giants

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Clayton Kershaw didn’t just dominate the Giants on the mound in today’s season opener. He also made some unexpected noise with his bat.

In a masterful performance, Kershaw tossed his sixth career shutout in a 4-0 win over the defending World Series champions. The 25-year-old southpaw held the Giants to just four measly singles while fanning seven and walking just one. He needed just 94 pitches to get the job done.

The Dodgers couldn’t get anything going against Matt Cain, so their ace ultimately had to take matters into his own hands. The game remained scoreless until Kershaw led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run to straight-away center field off George Kontos. Pretty good timing for the first home run of his major league career. In fact, it was also just his second extra-base hit in the big leagues. It was truly a surreal moment at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers tacked on three more runs in the frame before Kershaw finished off the Giants in the top of the ninth.

Kershaw is the first pitcher to homer on Opening Day since Joe Magrane in 1988 and the first Dodger to do it since Don Drysdale in 1965. He’s also the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run on Opening Day since Bob Lemon did it for the Indians back in 1953. Today’s performance was pretty much Kershaw’s way of asking, “Can I have my $200 million now, please?”

Here’s the video of Kershaw’s home run:

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.