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March 24, 2014

Painting the Black

Men at Work

by R.J. Anderson


While the east coast slept early Saturday morning and late Saturday evening, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened the season with a two-game series in Sydney, Australia. The time-zone difference is 15 hours, meaning normal start times in Australia (1 and 7 p.m.) became abnormal stateside (4 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST). Because not everyone disrupted their sleep patterns to watch two baseball games, here are some insights on what happened during those two games down under.

Game One: Dodgers win 3-1.
The story of the first game was Clayton Kershaw. The National League's reigning Cy Young winner failed to match his Opening Day performance from last year, when he threw a shutout against the defending world champions, but he pitched as well as one could be expected to given the circumstances. Kershaw's day at the office saw him face 27 batters, yield five hits, one walk, and a run, and strike out seven. More than 70 percent of Kershaw's pitches were strikes, and about a third of the swings the D'Backs took connected with air, not horsehide. It was, in short, a good way to start the year.

Kershaw is at once a great talent and horrible model. He's either the game's best pitcher, or good enough that nobody quibbles with handing him the title: he ranks first in ERA+ and OPS against, and third in innings pitched among pitchers with 500-plus innings the past three seasons—oh, and he's the sixth-youngest of the 50 qualified starters. Those elite results stem from some of the game's best stuff: our own Steffan Segui

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Related Content:  Arizona Diamondbacks,  Los Angeles Dodgers,  Opening Day

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: S... (03/24)
<< Previous Column
Painting the Black: Th... (03/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Painting the Black: Th... (03/31)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (03/24)

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