Chris Perez

What's the secret to Clayton Kershaw's opening day dominance? He's Clayton Kershaw.

What's the secret to Clayton Kershaw's opening day dominance? He's Clayton Kershaw.

Across half a dozen starts on opening day, Clayton Kershaw has thrown 526 pitches in 38 2/3 innings. He has faced 144 batters and struck out 44. He has hit a home run and allowed none. He has pitched a shutout once and allowed a run twice. He has never lost, and neither have the Dodgers.

Yet the moment he remembers most from these six outings involves an incident of physical infirmity, on a day when he had “never felt that bad and tried to pitch before.” It occurred in the season opener in 2012, at San Diego. A stomach virus sapped his strength. He realized the depth of his illness after hitting a double in the third inning.

“I got to second base, and I was like ‘I can’t go...

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