Before the game we learned that Vin Scully was still ill, and not only will not announce tonight, but for the rest of the series. The greatest sportscaster ever had missed the Dodger’s home opener for only the second time in his 63 years of broadcasting Dodger games. We hope that Vinny gets better very soon. Please keep him in your thoughts, for a fast recovery.
So with no Vinny tonight, I am already in a bad mood, then I turn to Prime Ticket to watch the Dodger pre-game show, and boom, no Pre-game show on. It’s annoying Basketball instead. The Dodger game was preempted on Prime ticket in order to televise the end of the stupid Clipper game. I already don’t give a hoot about the NBA, but now that it is directly interfering with my ability to watch my beloved Dodgers makes me hate the NBA even more.
The Dodgers have won thirty of the last forty games against the Pirates at Dodger Stadium. The Pirates entered the game batting only .189 as a team, and you will see why. After the Dodgers fell behind early 1-0, on a Clint Barmes home run, the Dodgers scored a run in the third, a run in the sixth, and two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Ethier, Rivera (who had two), and Tony Gywnn all drove in runs with run scoring singles. Chad Billingsley pitched six innings of one run ball, allowing only one run of five hits, walking none and whiffing four Bills was pinch hit for after making only 77 pitches, and picks up his second win of the young season. The Dodger offense singled the Bucs to death, and knocked out opposing starter Erik Bedard in the sixth inning, en route to their 4-1 win. The Dodgers have won five of their first six games.
So we missed the first inning and a half, because the Clipper game took an eon to be finished in Oklahoma City. While that was going on, the Dodger game started at 7PM sharp. The pitching match-up looked to be a good one between new Pirate’s pick up Erik Bedard, and the Dodger’s Chad Billingsley.
We were lucky not to have missed much during the first inning and a half. Bills set the Bucs down in order 123 in the top of the first inning. The Dodgers bottom half of the first was a little hazy, but apparently, Dee Gordon tried bunting for a base hit, but was thrown out by Pedro Alvarez. Ellis singled, but was picked off? Or was thrown out trying to steal second. Either way, he was erased on the base-paths. Then of course, Bison doubles. There is a balk called against Bedard, sending Matt Kemp to third base. However Juan Rivera flies out ending the frame.
Bottom of the second. The Clipper game finally ends, and Prime Ticket finally puts on the Dodger game, right as Andre Ethier is leading off the bottom of the second. After Dre flies out, Jerry Hairston singles. Uribe flies out, and A.J. Ellis is called out on strikes.
In the top of the third, Clint Barmes leads off by homering over the left field wall. 1-0 Bucs. I guess that is no surprise, as Stacie pointed out in the pre-game post, Barmes was 4 for 11 previously against Bills. Erik Bedard grounds out. Presley bunts up along the third base line, and Uribe throws him out. Nice play! Nate McLouth sends Bison back to the warning track for a long fly out.
Bottom of the third. After the first two outs are recorded quickly, Mark Ellis draws a walk. Bison squirts a base hit through the hole between first and second. With first and second, Juan Rivera smacks a solid base knock into right field, that plates Mark Ellis. The Dodgers have tied it up at 1-1. Ethier grounds out to end the frame.
Top of the fourth. Bills leads off by Whiffing Andrew McCutchen like a rented mule. Walker grounds back to the box. With two outs, Garrett Jones doubles to the gap, but fortunately Bills gets old friend Big Rod to fly out to Ethier. End of frame.
Hairston leads off the bottom of the fourth by grounding out to Jones. The Dodgers quickly go down in order in the bottom of the fourth. Top of the fifth, Bills whiffs Pedro Alvarez. Former third inning homerer, Clint Barmes, this time around meekly grounds out. Bedard flies out to Hairston.
Bills leads off the bottom of the fifth, and sends right fielder Nate MCLouth all the way back to the wall, MCLouth took a weird route to the ball, and had to reach behind his head to make the catch, and falls down while doing it. Funny, but a good recovery. Bills almost hit one out. Remember Bills has hit a home run before. Gordon grounds out, and Mark Ellis whiffs to things in the fifth. Still tied at 1-1.
We go to the top of the sixth. Bills begins by whiffing Presley, for his fourth whiff of the game. McLouth singles into right. McCutchen shoots one through the hole at short. Runners at first and second. Walker hits a soft liner right into Gordon’s mitt. Gordon just under-hands over to Ellis, who has to run over to the bag to double up McLouth, who had fallen asleep. The double play gets the Dodgers out of the jam.
Bison leads off the bottom of the sixth with a base hit. Rivera hits a little dribbler off the mound, Bedard tries to reach to grab it, but the ball takes a blue hop, and rolls away from Bedard. Everyone is safe. Bison at second, and Rivera at first. Andre Ethier and his picture perfect swing brings the count to 3-1, before smoking a base hit to left, over the leaping head of Barmes. Bison rounds third to score. Dodgers take the lead! This knocks Bedard out of the game, as the Pirates make a pitching change. Chris Resop is called in from the bullpen.
Nate McLouth makes an impressive sliding catch on Hairston’s shallow pop into right field. The ball was slicing away from him, and he made a glove side full extension sliding catch. This brings up Uribe with one out, and runners at first and second. Uribe uselessly grounds out weakly, but it does move the runners over to second and third. The Pirates walk A.J. Ellis intentionally to load the bases. With Bilingsley’s spot up, Mattingly goes to the bench for a pinch-hitter. Mattingly asks James Loney to come off the bench to bat. Loney had been benched because a lefty was on the mound and because he was o for his life. (0 for 14) Pittsburgh counters by making another pitching change. The chess match continues.
Tony Watson is the left-handed pitcher, and Loney is left to bat with the bases loaded. I figured Loney was due here, but nope, he pathetically fouls out, and the Dodgers don’t get another run there. At east Bills comes out of the game winning.
Matt Guerrier pitches the top of the seventh, with Hairston moving to left, and Loney staying in the game at first base. Loney doesn’t have much time to catch his breath, as Garrett Jones lines one right to him. There is the obligatory Big rod fly ball to left, and Pedro Alvarez hits a liner to second, and Mark Ellis makes a nice leaping snow-cone catch to end the top of the seventh.
Move to the bottom of the seventh. Gordon leads off with a base hit down the left field line, and he races into second base with a double. The Pirates make another pitching change. Evan Meek, the new pitcher, whiffs Mark Ellis. Bison check swing whiffs, on a ball in the dirt, but the ball gets away from Big Rod for a wild pitch and Gordon moves to third. Rivera smacks another RBI single, this time a ground-ball single that rolls under the diving glove of Clint Barmes and into center field untouched. Gordon scores, and the Dodgers lead 3-1! Ethier collects his second hit of the night, a clean whistle into center-field. The Pirates have a meeting on the mound. Mattingly has Tony Gwynn Jr. pinch hit for Hairston. Gwynn drops a single into center field, Rivera scores. 4-1 Dodgers! Sellers comes off the bench to hit for Guerrier, and grounds out to third, ending the inning.
Strikeout machine Kenley Jansen on the mound to start the eighth. He whiffs Barmes like a rented mule. Jansen whiffs Yamaico Navarro on a called third strike. Presley singles up the middle past a diving Mark Ellis. Then good measure, Jansen whiffs McLouth to end the top of the eighth. Jared Hughes pitches the bottom of the eighth for the Bucs. With two out, Gordon legs out a grounder and steals second. Ellis grounds back to the box, to end the eighth.
It’s Javy time in the ninth, Guerra gets McCutchen to pop out. Walker flies out to Kemp. Jones whiffs, and that is it. The Dodgers win 4-1. First time in 13 years the Dodgers have started the season with a 5-1 record. Awesome game! The Boys in Blue are playing very well. Bust out those brooms tomorrow Dodger fans! Jeff Karstens will counter Chris Capuano in a 7PM game on Prime Ticket. Join us again tomorrow, and please keep Vin in your thoughts. I hope that we Will be hearing his beautiful voice behind the mic on Friday. I am also hoping that there is no annoying NBA game to interfere with my Dodger viewing pleasure. Go Blue