After an off-season as World Champions, baseball is certainly back as today’s game was thoroughly intent on proving. The Dodgers started the season at
Satan Field Coors Field in a very Coors Field back-and-forth game with a lot of traffic on the bases, ending in a messy and almost comically sloppy 8-5 loss to the Rockies.
Clayton Kershaw looked hung over from the World Series victory during Spring Training, with a 10.22 ERA over 12.2 innings. More importantly, a year after his velocity ticked up, it was back down in the high-80s more than low-90s. Of course, he also had 14 strikeouts and just three walks, and he came out in the season debut pumping 91 mph without much issue on that front.
Justin Turner‘s new svelte figure on defense certainly helped out early.
Facing Rockies ace German Marquez, the lineup got four singles and two walks in the first two innings, but nothing on the board thanks largely to two double plays.
In the 3rd frame, one of the most bizarre plays I’ve ever seen happened, as after a one-out JT single, Cody Bellinger homered to left off of Raimel Tapia‘s glove for what should’ve been a two-run shot. The problem? JT thought Tapia caught it and retreated to first while Cody passed him on the bases. That meant Cody was out on the bases for a single, but JT had scored by the time the umpires called the play dead and was awarded home for a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers then got another scoring chance in the inning, walking twice but failing to capitalize, leading to a very weird box score.
Because baseball is baseball, after facing the minimum through two innings thanks to picking off the single he allowed, Kershaw immediately surrendered a fly ball triple that Mookie Betts took a weird route on and then a single on a squeeze attempt of some sort to tie things up at 1-1 in the 3rd. Later in the inning with two outs and a runner on second, Brian Fuentes got a seeing-eyed single through the infield to score another run and make it 2-1.
The Dodgers threatened again in the 4th with two walks and ran Marquez’s pitch count up to 91, but again came up empty and the score remained. That was enough to knock Marquez out of the game despite him giving up just a run in four innings.
Chi Chi Gonzalez entered in relief for the 5th, and Cody Bellinger greeted him with a bloop double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After not capitalizing on two tries, Gavin Lux came through with a game-tying single to right to make it 2-2.
The Rockies immediately fought back through the bottom of the order in their half of the 5th. A single, a walk, and a sacrifice bunt started the inning, and two runs came home on a ground out and an error by Corey Seager to make it 4-2 in favor of the Rockies.
The 6th saw the Dodgers rally yet again, as Kershaw singled for the second time, Mookie doubled into the left-center field gap, and Corey drew a walk to load the bases. One run was plated on a JT sacrifice fly and then Max Muncy followed with a solid single to right to tie things at 4-4.
Because Coors is Coors or whatever, the Rockies immediately came back in their half of the 6th, with three straight singles to start the inning to give them a 5-4 lead. Kershaw rebounded by getting two ground outs to put him on the verge of escape, but then gave up another single to make it 6-4. That knocked him out, and Kershaw’s final line wasn’t pretty: 5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 77 Pitches. On the plus side, it was nine singles and one triple, with the latter being a weird misread/misplayed fly ball.
Corey Knebel took over and made sure further issues didn’t follow, striking out the only batter he faced on four pitches.
Speaking of debuts, Jimmy Nelson made his in the 7th, and he didn’t look sharp at all. He issued a one-out walk and then gave up a double to put him in trouble, then he allowed a run on a wild pitch, rebounded with a strikeout. and threw another wild pitch leading to another run to make it 8-4. Another walk to the next batter signaled the end of his night. Nelson labored through 28 pitches, and Austin Barnes got injured on one of the plays at the plate.
Scott Alexander finished the game off for the Dodgers, getting the final four outs with the only runner reaching doing so on an error by JT.
Following Gonzalez’s innings, Yency Almonte got a scoreless frame, and Tyler Kinley followed in the 8th. He surrendered a lead-off double to Zach McKinstry, which was cashed in on a one-out single by Seager to make it 8-5.
After Rios got screwed on a call, Will Smith stepped up for his first at-bat of the season and got hit to load things up. Matt Beaty then pinch-hit for McKinstry for reasons unknown and struck out on three straight pitches. That left things to Mookie, who softly lined out to second to end the game.
The Dodgers lineup totaled 15 hits and 8 walks (1 HBP), including just six strikeouts, but went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 14 on base.
Well, at least Orel Hershiser talking about Mookie and Kershaw to Joe Davis was a highlight.
The Dodgers start off their season 0-1 with a loss to what should be one of the world team’s in baseball this year.