Dodgers @ D-backs April 7, 2023: Clayton Kershaw makes his 400th career start

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The Dodgers (5-2) and Diamondbacks (3-4) play each other again Friday night at Chase Field. The Boys in Blue go for their fourth straight win when they take on the D-backs for the sixth time in the last nine days. Clayton Kershaw makes his second start of the season and the 400th career start of his 16-season MLB career that has been entirely with the Dodgers.

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6:40 PM Phoenix
RF Betts 2B Marte (S)
1B Freeman (L) DH Lewis
DH Martinez LF Gurriel Jr.
3B Muncy (L) 1B Walker
2B Vargas 3B Longoria
CF Thompson RF Carroll (L)
LF Outman (L) SS Ahmed
SS Taylor C Moreno
C Barnes CF Thomas (L)
P Kershaw (L) P Bumgarner (L)

Kershaw (1-0, 1.50 ERA, 9K) picked up his first win of his 2023 campaign after going six solid innings in his start last Saturday against the D-backs. Kershaw struck out nine Arizona batters and walked none and provided contrary evidence to the “Kershaw is washed up” narrative. The supreme southpaw threw 76 pitches and allowed only one run on a Christian Walker solo homer. Looking like his dominant self, Kershaw allowed only three additional hits in his first start of the year.

The trio of Trayce Thompson home runs gave Kershaw plenty of run support last time out. The 10-run offensive barrage by the Dodgers’ bats over the D-backs was the highlight of the game, but Kershaw’s first start of the year provided a lot of promise that he’ll continue to pitch in vintage Kershaw form.

The future Hall of Famer has absolutely dominated the D-backs over his illustrious career. He’s 21-11 with a 2.67 ERA and 285 strikeouts in 256 career innings and 42 games started against Arizona. The D-backs are hitting just .209 off Kershaw in that span.


Kershaw vs. Bumgarner, Take Two

Old foe Madison Bumgarner will be on the mound for the D-backs and Kershaw’s 400th career start which seems very fitting. The two veterans battled each other at Dodger Stadium on the first of the month. The Dodgers, fueled by an Outman homer against the disgruntled ex-Giants pitcher, jumped out to an early lead and the eventual 10-1 win. Bumgarner lasted only four innings and allowed five runs on four hits in a struggle of a start.

MadBum is not as effective as he was in his early days, but this 2023 Arizona team is different from iterations of the past that have plagued the bottom of the NL West standings. We saw from the four-game opening series split between the Dodgers and the D-backs, the Snakes are aggressive on the base paths and have some feisty young talent to contend with. Currently, Arizona leads the NL with nine stolen bases. The Dodgers have stolen one base so far, a James Outman stolen base back on April 1.

At home, in Phoenix, the D-backs hit slightly better against Kershaw (.229 with 16 home runs allowed) in 21 games pitched at Chase Field.

Starters Shine

The Dodgers’ starting pitching has been exceptionally dominant so far to start the season. The starting pitching staff leads the NL in ERA (1.76), strikeouts (40), WHIP (0.71), and K/BB (8.00). Kershaw’s strong outing in his first start is definitely a contributor to the Dodgers’ 5-2 record in their first week of the season.


First pitch at Chase Field is at 6:40 PM PST on SportsNet LA.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.