Behind some hot hitting and “good enough” pitching, the Dodgers on Wednesday night defeated the Padres 7-4 at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers got down 2-0 in the first inning after Matt Kemp singled and Justin Upton hit a home run on a definite mistake pitch.
In the bottom of the first, Adrian Gonzalez continued his torrid start by hitting a home run to right field to get the Dodgers on the board.
See? He’d come back in the third inning with his second home run of the game, but this one bounced off the top of the wall in right and went out. Kemp was pretty close to robbing it, too. And for good measure, he’d connect on a third home run off Padres’ starter Andrew Cashner in the fifth inning. That one was a no-doubter. He’s the first player in MLB history with five home runs in his team’s first three games. He’s also 10-for-13 with those five home runs — totally sustainable.
The Dodgers did a bunch of damage in the second inning, which included a bases-loaded walk to McCarthy on a 3-2 pitch from Cashner. That tied the game, and the Dodgers gained the lead one batter later when Jimmy Rollins hit a grounder to first base. Yonder Alonso bobbled it and tried to get Rollins at first, but he was safe (after an umpire review). Then, the fun really happened, starring Yasiel Puig (who else?).
Everyone’s first reaction, rightfully so, was, “Oh, Puig.” But it turns out Rollins is the one to blame here. He should have easily gotten to third base on that play, and Davey Lopes even instructed Puig to go to second base. Then, he almost made it back. In fact, if he had dove in head-first, he probably would have been safe. It seems sliding is going to be an issue for Puig for, well, forever.
After the Upton home run, McCarthy basically cruised until the sixth inning. He entered the inning having thrown 91 pitches. Six pitches later, he had allowed a home run (to Will Middlebrooks on 0-2, in an impressive bit of hitting) and back-to-back doubles to Alonso and Yangervis Solarte. He pitched a lot better than his final line would indicate: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 2 HR, 97 pitches, 65 strikes, 5/0 GO/AO. Paco Rodriguez and Pedro Baez bailed him out of the sixth inning in another episode of “Don Mattingly micro-manages the bullpen.” (I hate that show)
Despite the rough bit, there were some encouraging signs. He was sitting in the 92-95 MPH range, and even touched 96-97 MPH with his fastball, showing that his shoulder is completely healthy and whatever program he’s on, he needs to stay with it. He also showed off a filthy 2-seamer and cut fastball. He even mixed in a few curveballs. If this is a sign of things to come from McCarthy, the investment looks like it’ll be well worth it. The only discouraging part is the fact he had to throw 91 pitches to get through five innings. He’ll need to be a little more efficient going forward.
The bullpen (Rodriguez, Baez, J.P. Howell, Joel Peralta) closed the game without incident, so everyone can stop freaking out about it until the next time it allows a run.
The Dodgers (2-1) are off on Thursday (because they’ve played an arduous schedule to this point) before traveling to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks (1-2) Friday. Brett Anderson makes his Dodger debut against Chase Anderson. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Pacific time.