The Stat Line Of The Night — 3/31/11 — Clayton Kershaw

When discussing possible candidates for the 2011 NL Cy Young, the favorites appear to be Roy Halliday, Cliff Lee, and Tim Lincecum but if you are looking for a darkhorse, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw could be your man.  He showed why during last night’s home opener against the defending World Series champion San Franscico Giants, as he not only out-dueled one of those leading candidates and a former two-time winner in Lincecum, but he also shut down the Giants’ bats en route to a 2-1 Dodgers victory.

Kershaw owned the Giants last season, recording an ERA well under 2.00 in four starts against them.  He continued that dominance last night by pitching seven shutout innings and allowing only four hits and one walk, while striking out nine batters.  The Dodgers line-up may not have been providing much run support, but they wouldn’t need to thanks to an impressive performance from their 23-year-old ace.

With the win, the Dodgers begin the 2011 season on a high note.  After taking a one-year hiatus, they will be looking to get back into the playoffs this season and hopefully make a run for their first World Series Championship since 1988.  Kershaw’s play will be a key to their success, but for now he earns our “Stat Line of the Night” for Thursday, March 31, 2011.

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