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Naturally, Dodgers get regular Clayton Kershaw, not spring version

Naturally, Dodgers get regular Clayton Kershaw, not spring version
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw opened the season looking like a guy coming off his second Cy Young award. (Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

There now, feel better?

Worried that fat contract had actually made Clayton Kershaw relax a tad too much? That subconsciously he might just be feeling satisfied? That those ugly 0-3, 9.20 ERA, 1.70 WHIP numbers he put up in the Cactus League hinted at pitching mortality?

Maybe not so much now, not after the left-hander opened the season Saturday looking an awful lot like the guy who is coming off his second Cy Young award at age 26.

Scott Van Slyke provided the unexpected power in the Dodgers’ 3-1 season-opening victory over the Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia, but it was Kershaw who was again the dominating one on the mound.

Despite bemoaning his spring's results, Kershaw brushed it off like some bothersome gnat. He opened the season by holding the Diamondbacks scoreless over the first five innings, which gave him 25 consecutive scoreless innings in season openers. This is a guy who knows when to step up.

The Diamondbacks finally produced a run in the sixth and he left with two outs in the seventh, having struck out seven, walked one and allowed five hits. Same as he ever was.

Kershaw threw 102 pitches (73 strikes), which sounds like a lot for a pitcher the Dodgers were so concerned about monitoring his innings this year that they gave serious consideration to not pitching him in Sydney.

But Kershaw is nothing if not a gamer, something of the Dodgers' Kobe Bryant in work ethic and mind-set. And rest assured, he particularly has no interest in losing to the Diamondbacks.

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So the bell rang and he answered the way you would expect. And the baseball world was back on its proper axis.

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