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Dodgers will open season with Clayton Kershaw on mound

GLENDALE, Arizona -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked it was a tough call, but Clayton Kershaw will be the opening day pitcher for Los Angeles for the sixth year in a row.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner will help the Dodgers open the season on April 4 opener against the San Diego Padres.

"That was a tough one," Roberts kidded Sunday. "That was one of the harder managerial decisions I've had to make. After a lot of review and thoughts, we came to that conclusion."

Kershaw was 16-7 last season with a 2.13 earned run average and 301 strikeouts -- the first pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts since 2002.

A sixth opening-day start ties him for third with Fernando Valenzuela in Dodgers history. Don Sutton and Don Drysdale each had seven.

"Consistency is something that's important to me," said Kershaw. "To be able to do this six times is something that -- when it's all said and done -- you can look back and enjoy it."

Kershaw started five straight opening days under former manager Don Mattingly. He is 3-0 with two no-decisions and 1.14 ERA in those starts, and the Dodgers have won all five.

Roberts also said that Kershaw would make his first spring start Thursday against the Chicago White Sox.