Improved Kershaw is far from satisfied

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw allowed one unearned run in five innings on Sunday. So he only beat himself up a little bit afterward.

"It was better," Kershaw said, comparing this start to the previous one, when he allowed four runs in three innings. "I'm still not throwing a lot of breaking balls for strikes. I'm getting behind in counts, and that's not great. I still walked three guys. But it was a little more encouraging."

Kershaw, who brought a 9.00 ERA into the game, was particularly critical of his previous performance.

"I'm just honest," he said. "I call it like I see it. Everybody wants to do well, Spring Training or not."

Manager Don Mattingly said he's got no complaints about his Opening Day starter.

"He's been fine," he said. "He had one outing that was rough, but it was like -- dink, dink, hit one hard. But he's been fine."

Kershaw, who struck out looking in his first at-bat, singled in a run in the fourth inning. This was the first game that pitchers batted for the Dodgers.

"It's always fun to hit," said Kershaw. "There's more of a game-like feel with at-bats."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.