Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Scott Van Smash and Kid K wrangle Snakes

The 2014 "Season Opener" is officially in the books as the Dodgers took down the Diamondbacks 3-1 in Sydney, Australia. Behind Scott Van Slyke and Clayton Kershaw, the Blue Crew got the season started with a bang. Here are some notes from the opener, of which I saw four innings live before entrusting my DVR with the rest and knocking out at 3 a.m. PST.

  • Today's game only further emphasizes why Scott Van Slyke should have been a part of the bench from day one in 2013. He's the only true power bat on the bench, can play three of the four corner spots, and crushes lefties. If a guy who posts a .342 OBP, .465 SLG, .353 wOBA, and 129 wRC+ can't find a permanent bench spot, what kind of bench are you building? Thankfully, SVS will have that permanent spot this season. A two-run bomb, double off the base of the wall, and walk is just the kind of start he needed.
  • Kershaw was his usual dominant self in the end, although there was clearly a bit of rust and working out of early season kinks. He allowed six baserunners over six and two-thirds innings, whiffing seven while issuing a lone walk (102 pitches, 73 for strikes). He also singled before being thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.
  • I'm no pitching expert by any means, but it did seem to me like Kersh was a bit too reliant on his fastball at times, particularly in a long at-bat against fellow pitcher Wade Miley.
  • Hanley Ramirez pulled up lame as he headed back to the dugout late in the game, but did finish out the contest in the field. Hopefully it's nothing major, but I wouldn't play him today under any circumstances and would sit him until the real regular season stateside gets underway. He's far too important to risk, especially with the hammy injury last season.
  • Kenley Jansen was Kenley Jansen, fanning one D-Back in a scoreless ninth.
  • I'm surprised they sent Clayton back out for the seventh considering it's the opening game of the series; the quirkiness of playing it overseas; and Clayton running the bases hard in the top half of the inning.
  • That being said, if you are going to send him out for that frame, let him get the final out in it when the batter is not Paul Goldschmidt, who had hit Clayton well. Clayton was obviously tired, but in no circumstance is Chris Perez a better option.
  • Don Mattingly is truly like his mentor Joe Torre when it comes to bullpen management, which is to say I don't get it.
  • A better defensive center fielder with more range probably catches Goldschmidt's double in the sixth inning.
  • Yasiel Puig struck out three times while going 0-for-5, but he did lace a ball in his final at-bat.
  • Alex Guerrero, who I would argue should be starting at second, technically made his debut as he was announced as a pinch-hitter before being pulled back for Mike Baxter.
  • Mark Trumbo is such a bad defender that he fooled the cameras and SVS into thinking Scott's clear double off of the wall was a homer.
  • A fan behind home plate wearing Red Sox garb attempted to start the Joseph Gordon-Levitt "Angels in the Outfield wings-wave" during the sixth inning. It failed. I would prefer that to the wave itself though.
Photo Credit: Dustin Nosler, Dodgers Digest

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