Clayton Kershaw Leaves L.A. Dodgers Opener with Stomach Flu

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIApril 5, 2012

SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 09:  Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Texas Rangers during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 9, 2012 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw, the reigning NL Cy Young award winner, left Thursday night's start early because of a pesky stomach bug.

Before leaving, Kershaw held the Padres scoreless through three innings; allowing just two hits.

He even recorded the Dodgers' first hit of the season on an opposite field single down the left field line in the third inning—he stole second when left fielder, Jesus Guzman, bobbled the ball.

Manager Don Mattingly wanted to scratch Kershaw from the Opening Day start because of the stomach flu, but the young lefty was able to talk him out of it.

Kershaw's exit became evident in the top of the fourth when the Dodgers were putting together a pretty lengthy rally. Reliever Josh Lindblom quickly began warming up during the midst of the rally.

When Adam Kennedy came in to pinch-hit, the fans knew that Kershaw's day was over.

Kershaw, unfortunately, did not earn the win because he did not pitch the required five innings.

Certainly not the way Kershaw wanted to start his season.

There aren't many out there that think Kershaw will regress much from his 2011 form, so there's plenty of reason to believe he'll be back strong in his next start.

If there are two positives the Dodgers can take away from this, they are:

1. At least it's just a stomach bug and he won't miss much time, and...

2. It seems like the only thing that can knock Kershaw out of a game these days is a stomach flu.