Clayton Kershaw Vs. Madison Bumgarner Is Season’s First Clash Of The Titans

Clayton Kershaw had yet another one of his incredible opening day starts. Madison Bumgarner struggled a bit at the beginning of his opening day outing. While only one of the two pitchers taking the mound on Saturday looked as good as he’s ever looked, that doesn’t mean the duel between Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner is diminished in any way. The two aces will face off on Saturday afternoon in what both teams hope will be a statement game as the season gets rolling.

There’s an added bonus for both Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner as their matchup will be on national television. Certainly neither of these pitchers are unknowns, but considering they play most of their games on the west coast, it will be a way for the rest of the country to take really notice of Kershaw’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Bumgarner’s San Francisco Giants. ESPN reports that the two titans of the pitching rubber have faced off seven times. Of those seven matchups, Clayton Kershaw has been on the losing end five times. While Kershaw has not been handed five losses, his team hasn’t managed to overcome Madison Bumgarner most of the time.

Clayton Kershaw is just 2-4 in this matchup while his Giants’ counterpart has managed to go 4-2. Despite those mirror image records, it turns out Kershaw has the better-earned run average at 2.12 compared to Bumgarner’s 2.58. Clayton also has the better WHIP as well. In other words, the two teams are pretty well matched up as the titans of the baseball world. The Giants have dominated the Dodgers in the last few games, including Friday’s 3-2 10th inning victory.

As Matt Cain told Fox Sports after that win, a game where he got the start and was then let off the hook for a potential loss, “you look for those matchups, those are marquee matchups.” That Friday game took on quite a bit more drama thanks to the Dodgers’ rookie starter handling his first major league start about as well as you could ever expect a rookie to handle his first outing. Ross Stripling managed to take a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Giants. Stripling was taken out of the game after he reached 100 pitches and San Francisco was able to not only get a base hit but thanks to Trevor Brown, tie the ball game with a two-run blast.

The Giants went on to win that game and then set up this Saturday duel between Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner. Even the larger performances for both pitchers can be held up as something the two can compete over. Clayton Kershaw has managed to take home an incredibly impressive three Cy Young awards. Madison Bumgarner has taken home three World Series titles. While Kershaw would likely say he’d rather see the World Series rings, today the argument is about who is the best pitcher and that is far from settled. Clayton Kershaw managed to make his case on opening day. Kershaw also wants to make sure people understand he’s not thinking about the matchup with Bumgarner as somehow more important than other games on the schedule.

“Every start to me is the same importance as the last start, other than trying get him out, that is the only thing I think about.”

Clayton recently said about his game against the Giants and his rival ace. Clayton Kershaw wants to see the season end on a positive note for a team that fell short in its goals a year ago. While the team made the playoffs, they weren’t able to get past the New York Mets in the NLCS. Clayton Kershaw knows that the first step to a great season means beating his personal rival.

[Photo by Lenny Ignelzi/AP Images]

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