Illness forced Clayton Kershaw out of his first start this season. Any lingering effects should be remedied this afternoon with the reigning Cy Young Award winner set to start the Los Angeles Dodgers' home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kershaw will usher in a new era at Dodgers Stadium in the opener of this three-game series, the first for the club since a group that includes legendary Laker Magic Johnson purchased the franchise from Frank McCourt. It will be the second start of the season for the left-hander following his brief debut last Thursday.
Kershaw opened up Los Angeles' season in San Diego, but was forced out of a 5-3 victory after three innings due to the flu. Last season's pitching Triple Crown winner allowed two hits and a walk while striking out three in his shortest outing since a career-low 1 1/3-inning appearance versus Milwaukee on May 4, 2010.
"Basically he was just trying to get quick innings, get through them and get off the field," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "It was pretty impressive."
Though the Pirates are hitting just .192 against the 24-year-old Kershaw, he is 0-1 against them in four starts with a 3.60 earned run average.
The Dodgers won their first three games of the season before suffering an 8-4 setback to the Padres on Sunday. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier both connected on two-run homers, while Aaron Harang was touched for four runs -- three earned -- over just 4 1/3 innings.
"We just weren't able to scratch anything together," said Mattingly.
A runner-up for the National League MVP award last season, Kemp has a 16-game hitting streak dating back to 2011 and has already posted a pair of homers and eight RBI on the season.
The Pirates start up a nine-game road trip out west after taking two of three at home over the Phillies. Pittsburgh lost the opener 1-0, but took the final two meetings on walk-off plays.
Alex Presley beat out an infield single that scored in the bottom of the 10th inning in Saturday's 2-1 win before Andrew McCutchen's RBI single with two outs in the ninth lifted the Pirates to a 5-4 triumph.
"None of us wanted to go back out on the field after playing extras yesterday," said McCutchen, who had three hits. "I just got hold of a good pitch and was able to drive it deep. This is a great series to start the season."
Starting Pittsburgh's first road game of the season will be Kevin Correia, who went 10-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 14 road starts in 2011 compared to a 7.71 ERA at home. The right-hander wrapped his first season with Pittsburgh leading the team in wins thanks to a 12-11 mark and 4.79 ERA in 27 games.
The 31-year-old Correia began his career with the Padres and Giants, facing them 25 times in his career. Eleven of those have been starts, with Correia going 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA in that span.
The Dodgers won six of eight versus the Pirates last season, winning three of four in Los Angeles while plating 30 runs. They have won 11 of their past 13 at home against Pittsburgh.