Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from Thursday’s Opening Day start against the Giants due to back stiffness, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Dustin May has been recalled to make the start in Kershaw’s place.
Kershaw was slated to oppose Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto to kick off the 60-game 2020 regular season in Los Angeles. It would have been Kershaw’s ninth career Opening Day start. The previous eight occurred from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu started on Opening Day last season.
Last season, Kershaw went 16-5 with a 3.30 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks across 178 1/3 innings. He made 28 starts, his highest total since making 33 in 2015. Injuries have certainly become a regular part of life for the lefty, though he has still managed to pitch at least 149 innings in each of the last four seasons.
As Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times notes, May will become the first Dodger rookie to start on Opening Day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. May, 22, made his major league debut last year, starting four games and pitching out of the bullpen 10 times. Over 34 2/3 innings, he yielded 14 runs on 33 hits and five walks with 32 strikeouts. MLB Pipeline rates May as the No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers’ system behind Gavin Lux.
Giants-Dodgers will start at 10:08 PM ET tonight, a few hours after the season officially opens with Yankees-Nationals in D.C.