Before we could even get to our seats at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day, the Dodgers were down by eight runs. It was a complete 180° departure from the historical Clayton Kershaw homerun game we attended last season on Opening Day. With Kersh on the disabled list, the Dodgers have had to start Hyun-jin Ryu way too often too early this season. Ryu, who most likely is fatigued, had a disastrous start on Friday. Two errors by Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp didn’t help matters either for the southpaw. The Dodgers didn’t just give up after the early deficit, and they gave the fans a little excitement with four runs including back-to-back homeruns by Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier. The bullpen was excellent as well, and Brandon League genuinely impressed me with two scoreless innings of work and THREE strikeouts!
The Dodgers just couldn’t climb to the top of that eight-run mountain, and the Giants picked up the victory. Scott and I enjoyed the gorgeous day at Dodger Stadium despite the loss. It was a perfectly sunny day topped off with white fluffy clouds and a cool breeze.
Unfortunately the horrendous traffic in and out of Dodger Stadium made the day a bit aggravating when combined with the Dodger loss. Opening Day was more crowded than I have ever seen it, and the parking lot situation has not become anymore free flowing despite the claims by ownership that they have worked on the logjam traffic issue.
More Yasiel Puig drama. I’m completely over the Yasiel Puig “timeout” narratives. Puig was late to the stadium and subsequently benched. It was too bad that the fans lost out on seeing Puig play in his first Dodger Stadium Opening Day. The fans were calling for Puig to play throughout the game. Puig said he was sorry after the game, but his antics overshadowed the Opening Day festivities. While I don’t agree with necessarily benching Puig for tardiness, I feel he should be fined accordingly. Benching Puig not only hurts the fans, but it also hurts the team on the field.
Moving on, the Dodgers look to redeem themselves in the second game of the series on Saturday. Another day game, and the Dodgers will have to face the tough lefty Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner has always pitched well against the Dodgers and at Dodger Stadium where he is 5-2 with a 1.86 ERA in 8 games. Overall he is 8-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 12 career games versus Los Angeles. Most of the Dodgers have not hit MadBum well, and Andre Ethier being one of the worst will likely sit out on Saturday. Dre has struck out nine times in 24 at-bats against the left-hander. Juan Uribe and Yasiel Puig have both hit a homerun against Bumgarner.
Bumgarner wasn’t involved in the decision of his first start of the season, the Giants Opening Day game when Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval committed errors which led to four unearned runs. He only pitched 4 innings and allowed 6 hits with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks.
Paul Maholm will get the start for the Dodgers, his first regular season start for his new team. Maholm has only pitched 1/3 of an inning for the Dodgers when they were in Australia. He struck out his only batter faced, Miguel Montero. In his career, he is 2-3 with a 4.06 ERA against the Giants
over 10 starts. Pitching at Dodger Stadium, he is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 3 starts. Those appearances at Dodger Stadium was when he was an opposing pitcher, so hopefully he will collect his first win at Dodger Stadium as the home team starter.
Hunter Pence is hitting .306 against Maholm with 15 hits including 2 homeruns, 4 doubles, a triple, and 9 RBIs. Actually, Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey have all hit Maholm over the years.
Let’s hope that Puig shows up tomorrow and Paul Maholm shows up ready. The Giants are the same aggressive, scrappy team they have been for years. Ryu was hammered with bloopers galore which turned into runs for the Giants. The Dodgers will have to avoid first inning runs so that they are not playing from behind again.
Prediction: Yasiel Puig will show up on time and be in the lineup.
First pitch will be at 1:10 p.m. PT and will be televised on SportsNet LA and FS1.