Clayton Kershaw Leads Dodgers to 1st 4-Game Opening Day Win Streak Since 1963-66

Bleacher Report MilestonesB/R StaffMarch 22, 2014

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw pitches during the the Major League Baseball opening game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia Saturday, March 22, 2014. The Dodgers won the game 3-1. (AP Photo/Michelle O'Connor)
Michelle O'Connor/Associated Press

Following Saturday morning's 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won their season opener in four consecutive years for the first time since 1963-66, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Such a streak comes as no surprise, given that the Dodgers had ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound for each of those four games.

The left-hander made his first Opening Day start in 2011, holding the San Francisco Giants scoreless for seven innings. The following year, he came down with an illness and had to be removed from the opener early, after tossing three shutout innings against the San Diego Padres in a game that the Dodgers would ultimately win, 5-3. 

Opening Day 2013 was the best of the bunch, with Kershaw facing just 30 batters in a complete-game shutout versus the archrival Giants. It was one of the more memorable early-season games in recent history, as the fire-balling lefty broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning by hitting the first home run of his career.

While he's pretty good in the batter's box by a pitcher's standards, Kershaw still has just the one home run and a mere three doubles in 347 career at-bats.

Saturday morning's game may not have been as exciting as the Dodgers' 2013 opener, but Kershaw still played a leading role, allowing one run in 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts on the way to his first of many wins this season. While the game itself was nothing special, the 26-year-old ace will always be able to say that he took the winning decision in the first MLB game played in Australia.

Given an Opening Day track record that includes just one run over 25.1 innings, it's tempting to say that Kershaw steps his game up for the first start of the season. However, the sample size is still rather meaningless, as it's hardly out of the ordinary for the Dodgers ace to string together a similarly impressive string of starts.

Another Opening Day win will surely be appreciated in Los Angeles, but the goal is to win the season's last game, not it's first. Having said that, the last time the Dodgers won four consecutive openers, they captured championships in two of those seasons (1963 and 1965), with a National League pennant in 1966 to boot.

Led by the legendary duo of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, those Dodgers teams surprisingly used three different Opening Day starters over the four-year period, with Claude Osteen joining the aforementioned pair of Hall of Famers.