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Dodgers make huge Walker Buehler decision amid Clayton Kershaw’s return

Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler

The Los Angeles Dodgers boast one of the most stacked rosters ahead of the 2022 MLB season, and they have their sights set on returning to the World Series. The team made a key announcement regarding the starting rotation on Thursday, revealing it would be Walker Buehler who gets the ball on Opening Day, via Fabian Ardaya. Despite Clayton Kershaw returning to the team in free agency, Buehler will get his first-ever opportunity to lead the Dodgers’ rotation.

Kershaw has served as the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter in nine of the past 11 seasons, only missing out in 2019 and 2020 when dealing with injuries. Kershaw was again the Opening Day starter in 2021, but after Buehler has emerged as the team’s ace, the organization rewarded him with the honor.

Last season, Buehler dominated on the mound for the Dodgers. He racked up 212 strikeouts across 207.1 innings of work, recording a 2.47 ERA and a 16-4 record. The 27-year-old made his second National League All-Star team and finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting.

He’s emerged as one of the best young pitchers in baseball, and will be handed the ball on Opening Day for the first time in his career when the Dodgers take on the Rockies on April 8 at Coors Field. It’s not the greatest ballpark for your first Opening Day start, but Buehler will certainly be looking forward to toeing the rubber for LA’s first game of the year.

The Dodgers brought back Kershaw this offseason on a one-year, $17 million contract. Despite that, the team has rewarded Buehler with the nod for the regular-season opener, though the rest of the rotation order has yet to be revealed.