Dodgers @ Twins April 13, 2022: Clayton Kershaw’s season debut

After last night’s rain-aided marathon of a game, the Dodgers and Twins are back this morning to finish up their 2-game series. Clayton Kershaw — making his season debut — takes on new Twin and familiar foe Chris Paddack.

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10:10 a.m. Minneapolis, Minn.
RF Betts DH Buxton
1B Freeman (L) 2B Arraez (L)
SS T. Turner 3B Urshela
DH Muncy (L) SS Polanco (S)
3B J. Turner C Sánchez
LF Taylor RF Kepler (L)
CF Bellinger (L) 1B Sano
2B Lux (L) LF Kirilloff (L)
C Barnes CF Celestino
P Kershaw (L) P Paddack

Kershaw, 34, had his debut pushed back due to the shortened Spring Training. He threw a 5-inning side session five days ago to prepare for his debut. While it’ll be overcast, it seems the weather might hold out for the two squads to get this one in.

Here’s an interesting tidbit about Kershaw and Target field.

I knew Kershaw shouldn’t have gone to Australia.

Kershaw had a strong spring, posting a 3.09 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in the Cactus League. He fanned 13 hitters against just three walks. Spring Training stats don’t mean much, but Dave Roberts seemed impressed with the future Hall-of-Famer’s performance.

Whaddaya say, Clayton, one more Cy Young for the trophy case? He’s +4000 (40:1) to win right now, if you’re feeling frisky.

How about a 27-strikeout perfect game, preferably on 81 pitches.

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After last night’s 5 1/2-hour affair, there wasn’t a big change to the Dodgers’ lineup. Austin Barnes is in at catcher (as he’s, basically, Kershaw’s personal catcher) for Will Smith, who’s getting the night off. Other than that, it’s the same personnel in the lineup, with Justin Turner at third base and Max Muncy at designated hitter. The fans who hate platoons must be giddy that the Dodgers are using “a more consistent lineup” or whatever.

The Twins are countering with Paddack, whom they acquired just before Opening Day along with Emilio Pagan, for Taylor Rogers. Normally, landing a starter for a reliever is a good move (but I’ll never be OK with the Duaner Sanchez-for-Jae Weong Seo trade from 16 years ago — congrats, you’re old too!), but this seemed like a bit of a desperate move for the Twins, who had been searching for starting pitching all winter. With old friend Kenta Maeda recovering from Tommy John surgery, they needed someone to throw innings. We’ll see how Paddack’s fastball-changeup heavy arsenal plays in the American League and an underrated AL Central.

Bryon Buxton gets a day off from the field and Carlos Correa gets a day off from the game. Last night’s Dodger MVP Luis Arraez is at the keystone instead of the hot corner, so maybe he’ll have a better defensive showing today.

There’s a bit of late-breaking news with the Twins’ lineup.

This sucks. Hope the kid can get his wrist right, because he can really hit. Dee Strange-Gordon‘s brother, Nick Gordon, takes his place in the lineup.

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Speaking of Dee…

…such violence.

First pitch is set for 10:10 a.m. Grab your coffee.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.