The Los Angeles Dodgers have returned home after sweeping the Demoralized Arizona Dbacks in their two game opening series in Sydney, Australia played at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground. Despite injuries to Yasiel Puig’s back, Hyun-jin Ryu’s toe, and a shaky bullpen in game two, the Dodgers easily came away with the two-game sweep.
Both clubs came into the opening series on Saturday March 22nd, with question marks, but the Snakes were coming into the series after just finding out that their ace left hander Patrick Corbin has a torn UCL in his elbow. That injury normally requires Tommy John surgery. Then the Snake’s team bus broke down, and half of the club had to walk back to the ball park. This is why the Snakes resembled a team of zombies throughout the two-game series. Until the end of game two that is.
Game 1- pitching duel
Kershaw had had a rough spring, and it was still unclear whether or not he had built up enough arm strength during the abbreviated Dodger spring schedule. Apparently that was not an issue as Kershaw went 6.2 dominant frames. Kershaw was able to flip that imaginary switch, like the great ones can do. Miley was decent as well, tossing five frames of three-run ball with eight whiffs, but was no match for the superior Kershaw.
The game began with a strikeout of Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers went down 123 in the first. One of the few rallies for the Snakes, happened in the bottom of the first. With one out, the Snakes got back-to-back ground ball singles from Aaron Hill, and Paul Goldschmidt to put two runners on. But Kershaw got Martin Prado, and Mark Trumbo to both weakly ground out to end the frame.
The Dodgers would break through off of Miley first in the top of the second. After Adrian Gonzalez drew a lead-off walk, Scott Van Slyke, who was playing in place of Carl Crawford who was back home on Paternity leave, doubled over the head of Trumbo in left, putting runners on second and third. The play was weird and fooled Trumbo, who pretended he was going to catch it. The ball landed nowhere near him, eventually hitting the base of the wall, and bouncing back into play.
After that confusion, the Dodgers had runners at second and third. Miley was able to recover nicely, by whiffing Juan Uribe for the first out. But with the Airzona infield playing up, Andre Ethier’s ground out to second scored Gonzo, and the Dodgers had their first run of the 2014 season, up by a 1-0 score.
It was still 1-0 Dodgers when the boys in blue got to Miley again in the top of fourth. Once again, Gonzalez would get on base in front of a Scott Van Slyke extra base hit. This time however, it would be the kind where you run around the bases.
Gonzo struck out, but he struck out on a wild pitch. The ball bounced to the backstop and somehow, Gonzo reached first base safely, as the Snakes failed to record the out. Next up, Van Slyke, crushes a solo home run on a line drive down the right field line. The home run lands just fair inside the corner. The first home run of the season for the Dodgers! This makes the score 3-0 Dodgers.
Miley’s last inning of work in the top of the fifth, he had to pitch out of a bases loaded situation. Which he does successfully. He walked A.J. Ellis, whiffed Kershaw, and Puig, and allowed a single to Justin Turner. Hanley Ramirez reached on a throwing error, and Miley whiffed Gonzo to get out of the inning, and keep the score at 3-0 Dodgers.
By the bottom of the sixth, Arizona had been held to just three hits. But they did one in off of Kershaw before his night was done. In that sixth frame, Goldschmidt, who kills the Dodgers, led off with a double. He went to third on a wild pitch, and scored one out later on a Trumbo ground out. The score was now 3-1 Dodgers.
Kershaw lasted until the bottom of the seventh. In that inning, Kershaw whiffed Chris Owings, and Gerardo Parra reached on a Justin Turner error. Kershaw then whiffed Eric Chavez, and his night was done. Kershaw allowed just one earned run on five hits, with one walk and seven whiffs. Right hander Chris Perez entered the game and retired A.J. Pollack for the third out.
The Dodger bullpen was perfect on this night. After Perez did his job, Brian Wilson threw a 123 bottom of the eighth, picking up two strike outs. Closer and strikeout machine Kenley Jansen came in and closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth. The last out of the game was Parra grounding back to the box, as Jansen himself recorded the final out. The Dodgers won by a score of 3-1.
The Game 1 Offensive star
This would obviously be Scott Van Slyke. His two-run home run in the fourth frame was the difference in the game. His 2 for 3 two RBI performance was the top offensive output for the Dodgers.
Game 1 pitcher of the game
This is another no-brainer. This would go to Clayton Kershaw. The reigning Cy Young winner threw 6.2 innings of one-run ball. He allowed just five hits, and whiffed seven. He was removed with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, and picked up his first win of the season. Kershaw had it all working that night, mixing his efficient power pitching, with his beautiful talent.
Game 2 pitching duel
The Snakes were looking to bounce back in game 2, and were dominated again, despite a last minute comeback off of the meaty end of the Dodger bullpen.
Game two pitching duel would see Korean lefty Hyun-jin Ryu for the Dodgers, countering Arizona right hander Trevor Cahill.
Game 2 would feature the return of the Dodger offense. The boys in blue pounded out seven runs on thirteen hits in a 7-5 win. Neither starter would make it past the fifth inning, although Ryu had been dominating the Snakes until a toenail injury suffered while running the bases forced him out after five frames.
The Dodgers scored in five innings, and touched Cahill right away in the top of the first. Remember Cahill had never lost to the Dodgers, and was 6-0 lifetime against them. In the first inning, there was a Puig single, and a Gonzo walk. Ethier’s line drive RBI single scored Puig to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Although Ethier was thrown out trying to take second base.
In the third, Ryu singles, (this is how he hurts hit toe), and Dee Gordon doubles him to third. Puig’s single scored Ryu, and put the Dodgers up 2-0. Hanley drew a walk, and then there was a sac fly from Gonzo to make it a 3-0 score.
The Dodger lineup pummeled Cahill, and finally knocked him out of the box in the fifth. He gave up a walk to Gonzo, and then a stolen base to Gonzo. Yes, you read that correctly, Gonzalez stole second base. There was a throwing error from Montero that put Gonzo at third. Ethier walked. Arizona finally removed Cahill and brought in Josh Collmenter. Then A.J. Ellis walked, to load the bases. Mike Baxter’s double play scored Gonzo, to put the Dodgers up 4-0, and Uribe followed with an RBI double to give the Dodgers a 5-0 lead.
The Dodgers would get two more important runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Gordon gets a bunt single, and comes around to score on a Puig double. And in the top of the seventh, A.J. reached on an error, a Uribe single, and a Figgins walk later, Gordon’s sac fly scored the seventh run, to give the Dodgers a 7-0 lead.
Remember, Arizona made three errors in this game. Ryu pitched very well, allowing just two hits with one walk and five whiffs in five innings. He eventually got the win, but not without some late drama.
Chris Withrow pitched a scoreless frame in the sixth, and Paco Rodriguez got the first two outs in the seventh. The Dbacks would mount a rally in the eighth against veteran Jamey Wright. In that inning, Wright gave up a walk to Prado, and singles to Montero and Trumbo. J.P. Howell was called in, and got two outs. The score was 7-1 Dodgers going to the ninth.
With the club up by six runs in the bottom of the ninth, there was no apparent need to use Jansen. Or so we thought. So the Dodgers used still wet behind the ears flamethrower Jose Dominguez. The young right hander was awful, being unable to get anyone out. He walked Pollack and Hill, and then somehow keeps Goldschmidt in the park, as he flies out to deep right. The fly ball moved the runners up, and Prado’s single scored both runs to make the score 7-3 Dodgers.
Uh-oh. Mattingly them brings in Paul Maholm to whiff Montero for the second out. Then he decides to bring in Jansen for the last out. With Prado still at first, Jansen proceeds to give up a monster home run to Trumbo, which made the score now 7-5. It was surely annoying, but with two outs, and a two-run lead, the Dodgers had no reason to panic. Jansen then struck out Parra to end the game. Despite the Dbacks scoring five runs in the last two innings, the Dodgers hang onto win by a score of 7-5.
Offensive star of the game
This goes to multiple Dodgers. Gordon, Puig, and Uribe all had three hits in the second game. Hanley and Gonzo each drew two walks, and the Dodgers were 5 for 17 with runners in scoring position, and left thirteen men on base.
Pitching star of the game
This award goes to Ryu, who was breezing along until he stubbed his toe or whatever. Five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk. Five whiffs, and nothing but peace of mind for Dodger fans. Kudos to Ryu for a job well done.
Dodger offensive hero of the series
This would go to left fielder Scott Van Slyke. The big lug, turned in a great game in game 1 with a two-run home run, and a double. His home run was the lone home run of the series for the Dodgers. Gordon had three hits in the second game which is worth mentioning, as is Gonzalez reaching base four times without swinging the bat. He drew a walk and reached on a wild pitch in the first game, and drew two walks in game 2.
The evil one
Paul Goldschmidt the offensive star of the Dbacks continued to destroy Dodger pitching. The first baseman had two hits in each game, going 4 for 9 in the series.
Dodger pitcher of the series
This goes out to Kershaw and Ryu. The both of them pitched excellent, efficiently holding the Snake’s bats quiet. Kershaw threw 6.2 innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits, He whiffed seven. Ryu, tossed five innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and a walk, and whiffing five.