The World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers stepped upon the emerald green grass of Dodger Stadium adorned in their crisp white home jerseys accented with brilliant gold on Friday afternoon.
The pre-game ceremonies were epic. The Boys in Blue got their diamond and sapphire encrusted rings before first pitch before live fans. It was the first time Dodgers fans have been allowed into Dodger Stadium for a live game in a year and a half.
The last two seasons the Dodgers have gone 80-31 at Dodger Stadium, and they started their 2021 home campaign with a W thanks to six shutout innings of work by Walker Buehler, three shutout innings by the bullpen, and a late game solo home run by Justin Turner, who collected three hits on the day.
Buehler scattered six hits over six shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks on 90 pitches (66 strikes).
Joe Ross, who hadn’t pitched in a Major League game since 2019, was thrown right into the fire. But the only hits by the Dodgers against him were two singles by Turner, as Ross kept the Dodgers off the board in all five of his innings.
The Dodgers finally broke through when Turner hit the first Dodgers home dong of the year, which was his second homer overall. It was a majestic blast to left-center field off old friend Luis Avilan. It was nice to hear the roar of the fans — not fake sound effects — on that Turner shot.
Victor Gonzalez was the first arm out of the Dodgers’ bullpen to protect a 1-0 advantage, and he looked sharp with a couple of strikeouts on nine pitches in a perfect 7th.
Blake Treinen then got the ball in the 8th. He gave up a double and a single to start, but Will Smith contributed a caught stealing helped get Treinen back on track. He rebounded with a strikeout, issued an intentional walk, and then got a ground out to escape potential disaster.
Corey Knebel got the job of shutting the door in the 9th, and boy did he ever, taking just 10 pitches to strike out the side and coming close to an immaculate inning.
I will watch these two clips on repeat.
The Dodgers are now 6-2 overall and 1-0 at home.
The Dodgers and Nationals do it again tomorrow at 6:10 PM PST. Julio Urias looks to build off his stellar season debut, while the Nats have yet to announce who will be starting Saturday. The team is still shuffling their roster, which was compromised by a COVID-19 outbreak.