dodger_stadium_openingday2013

Giants @ Dodgers April 4, 2014: Dodger Stadium Is Back And So Is Matt Kemp

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Depending on how you look at it, things are either great, or they’re terrible.

It’s certainly bad that Clayton Kershaw may be out until May, or even June. It’s bad that Brian Wilson‘s twice-zippered elbow is barking (even if he is going to pitch in the minors on Sunday). It’s bad that Yasiel Puig couldn’t be bothered to show up on time for the home opener, earning himself a spot on the bench today. It’s bad that articles like this exist. It’s bad that a huge amount of fans can’t watch these games — the text messages I received from a DirecTV-subscribing friend of mine who only realized this yesterday were illuminating — and worse that Time Warner and DirecTV are lobbing lies and accusations at one another. It’s bad that Vin Scully can’t watch the games he’s not in attendance for. It’s bad that Hanley Ramirez hasn’t hit anything. It’s bad that Adrian Gonzalez hasn’t hit anything. It’s bad that Andre Ethier hasn’t hit anything.

Giants
Dodgers 
1:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Pagan
LF
Crawford
RF
Pence
CF
Kemp
3B
Sandoval
SS
Ramirez
C
Posey
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Morse
RF
Ethier
1B
Belt
3B
Uribe
2B
Hicks
C
Ellis
SS
Arias
2B
Gordon
P
Vogelsong (R)
P
Ryu (L)

These things are bad. Bad things are bad.

And yet! Despite all that, the Dodgers have won four of their first five games. While the Giants are 3-1, the Padres, Diamondbacks, and Rockies are a combined 3-10. After endless games in Arizona and Australia and San Diego, wrapped around fake games in Los Angeles and Anaheim, the Dodgers are back home for a game that counts for the first time since beating St. Louis 6-4 in Game 5 of the NLCS, way back on October 16, and Dodger Stadium is gleaming with yet another round of new improvements.

Oh, and Matt Kemp is back too, playing center and hitting second, after initially not being in the lineup before Puig happened. There’s baseball, real baseball, day baseball, with Kemp and Hyun-jin Ryu at Dodger Stadium. You know what? Maybe things aren’t quite so bad after all.

As expected, Mike Baxter was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque after going 0-7 with a walk in eight plate appearances, including one start. And as Kemp works his way back onto the roster, we’re reminded that what so many people think is a problem is not yet a problem. There has still never been a game where Ethier, Kemp, Puig, and Carl Crawford have all been healthy and active for a full nine innings. Last year, there were only two games where it even started that way, and Kemp was injured by the end of each. Does it count if that ends today because Puig either sits out or maybe only pinch hits? I guess we’ll see.

Puig is still listed among the reserves, and we don’t know if he’s out for the day or just not starting. Either way, good luck bringing in lefty Javier Lopez to face Crawford or Ethier in the 8th inning, Bruce Bochy. This bench just got mildly less terrible.

***

Also, this! Chad Billingsley will make his first rehab start on Sunday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. He is expected to need five rehab starts — three in Rancho around two in Albuquerque –, which means he could only be about a month away from returning. If all goes well, it seems more likely than not he could actually beat Kershaw back to the mound.


About

Mike wrote daily for over six long years (2007-13) about the Dodgers at Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness, which was named 2011′s “Best Sports Blog” by LA Weekly. He can currently be found writing multiple times per week at FanGraphs and ESPN, has been a producer and editor for Sports on Earth, and built The Hardball Times. He lives in New York City and will probably be asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.


1032 comments
Barney (Not Darwin)
Barney (Not Darwin)

Hopefully Puig is back in there tomorrow. It's Bumgarner pitching, so I hope Gonzalez is the only lefty in the lineup.

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

what if Yasiel was late on purpose so Matt Kemp would get in the line up? Nobody thought of that now did they?

efb
efb

I'm fine with this game, i dont even feel like shit after most losses

KMT59
KMT59

Well good to get that stinker out of our system...we got them tomorrow...later for now

Lobo
Lobo

Well it was great to see Matt Kemp on the field again

 tomato
tomato

Vogelsong not getting win at least

 tomato
tomato

i blame this on ross porter being on PA

efb
efb

Dylan = Plashke 2.0

Barney (Not Darwin)
Barney (Not Darwin)

Lopez hasn't allowed a run in his last 10 innings at Dodger Stadium.

Barney (Not Darwin)
Barney (Not Darwin)

Bochy really wanted Figgins to bat right handed. I guess Figgins is such a threat from the left side.

TellMyWifeISaidHello
TellMyWifeISaidHello

figgins walk. Puig double, Kemp double, Hanley double, Gonzo walk, Ethier Dinger

efb
efb

what a fuckin amazing bullpen we have

Lobo
Lobo

@capnsparrow  I thought of it and then immediately rejected it as being dumb

Sad Towel
Sad Towel

@efb  standings are annoying to look at now. if we win tomorrow it won't matter though.

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

@efb Yep. There definitely were some pluses to take away from this game.

 tomato
tomato

@Lobo wo reinjuring himseld, i'll assume that for now

efb
efb

@Barney G  not as disappointing as I thought it would be tho

efb
efb

@LA_Woman @efb  lots of em. only bad thing was a couple of defensive plays and lucky drops