On a night where it seems that the Los Angeles Dodgers were facing the biggest rival health with their players that included Juan Rivera and now Matt Kemp.
Kemp was placed on the 15 day DL, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers would have to continue to fight without their premier warrior.
On the other side of the ball, Arizona D-backs pitcher and 2011 Cy Young runner up Ian Kennedy had something to prove against Kershaw, and to remind him how he never forgot how he should’ve won that prestigious award.
Kershaw got out of the first inning rather quickly making way for the Dodger bats to light up hard and fast, as the speedy Dee Gordon singled to left, and thanks to a throwing error by Kennedy, Gordon made it safe to third base. Mark Ellis grounded out to second, but it allowed Gordon to score as the Dodgers took the lead 1-0.
For the next several innings Kershaw was masterful, showing Kennedy and others why he was the Cy Young winner and still a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Frustrating Arizona batters, Kershaw was virtually untouchable, and so was the Dodger offense in the bottom of the sixth inning, Andre Either smacked a solo home run to right center, as Kennedy watched and pounded his glove in disgust. Catcher AJ Ellis singled to center, then James Loney singled that advanced Ellis to third base.
Adam Kennedy stepped up and hit a key sacrifice fly to center that scored Ellis.
Kennedy threw a pitch behind Kershaw and to the backstop before he walked. Kershaw returned the favor in the fifth inning, making Kennedy bail out of the batter’s box on a first-pitch fastball before he walked him.
After pitching seven strong innings, Josh Lindblom relieved Clayton Kershaw who left the field amongst cheers and applause from the Dodger Stadium crowd.
Lindblom was pretty solid, until he gave up a solo home run to Arizona’s Aaron Hill deep to left field that would prove to be the D-backs only run of the game. Lindblom settled down and go out of the inning with any further damage.
Kenley Jensen came in for Lindblom to close out the game, and did an exceptional job, especially getting R Roberts to pop out at first base to end the game, as the Dodgers defeated the D-backs 3-1. Jensen picked up his fourth save in five attempts on the season.
Matt Kemp talked about how he felt about not playing “I’m disappointed. This is my second time being on the DL, and the first time was a long time ago [April 2007]. I like playing every game, but I’ve got to be healthy and playing at 100 percent for me to be effective. So I’ve got to let it heal.”
Kemp is still on course for his goal of 50/50, and should win the NL MVP award this season, as he’ll continue to play at a high level once he returns from injury.
Kershaw talked about the warning by Umpire after the incident between him and Kennedy, “Old-school baseball’s one thing, and I understand what the manager’s trying to instill over there, but there’s no place for that here. It’s obvious what they were trying to do, but I don’t agree with what they did. It just felt wrong. He’s a good pitcher, he had an awesome year last year and I have a lot of respect for what he does on the hill. But if that’s how they want to do it, that’s fine. He missed anyway, so no big deal.”
SAN DIEGO, CA – Once you heard the golden voice of baseball make his announcement “it’s time for Dodger baseball” you knew the 2012 Season was official. The Dodgers started the season this year on the road with the their neighbors to the south, the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw never though he’d wake with a bad case of the stomach flu for Thursday debut. After pleading and convincing manager Don Mattingly not to scratch him for the start, Kershaw went out and battled like a champ, throwing three shut out inning before calling it a day due to effects of the stomach flu. Mattingly pulls him just before the fourth inning to replace him with pitcher Josh Lindblom, who ironically wasn’t sure he would make it to the Opening Day roster.
The fourth inning proved to be the breakaway opportunity the Dodgers needed as Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez threw several walks allowing the Dodgers to score two much needed runs. The Padres also picked up three errors in the inning. The scoring didn’t stop in the fifth inning as the Dodgers got into position to score again thanks to a Dee Gordon triple error as the ball bounced off the glove of Padres Cameron Maybin. Matt Kemp hit a grounder that allowed Gordon to score making it 3-0.
The Padres finally got on the board as they scored a run thanks to Jesus Guzman RBI double, ending the scoreless drought in the sixth inning.
The eight inning, it was all Matt Kemp as he hit a home run that flew to right of pitcher Brad Brach, to give the Dodgers a commanding 5-1 lead. The Padres weren’t done as Maybin blasted about a 445 foot home run off Kensley Jensen to bring the Padres back within two, down just 5-3.
Javy Guerra came in the ninth inning to secure the save as the Dodgers take the first game of the series 5-3. Lindblom who pitched two perfect innings in Kershaw’s absence, get the win. Kemp finished the day with 3 RBI’s and 1 home run. After the home run, a happy Kemp talked about what happened when he was congratulated by new owner Magic Johnson “right when I came back from hitting the home run, he stuck his head in the dugout and said, ‘Nice job, kid”.
Padres manager Bud Black talked about the absence of Clayton Kershaw “It’s nice to get him out of the game, thinking the Cy Young Award winner is out and you have six innings to go score runs”.
Friday the Padres have another opportunity to turn things around as they send Cory Luebke to the mound against Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley at 7:05PM.
*In attendance was former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt sitting next to one of the new Dodger owners Magic Johnson. An enthusiastic Johnson was seen several times cheering on his new ball club throughout the game.
SAN DIEGO – Today begins a new era, not just on the field but off the field as well. “It’s time for Dodger baseball….” when you hear those magical words from the golden voice Vin Scully, you know it’s Opening Day. With the nonsense of Frank McCourt out of the way (well not until April 30th officially), and new owners Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Mark Walter & Guggenheim Group seem to be on the right path and heading into a winning direction.
With everyone in the front office seem to be in place this season, Dodger fans can look forward to this ownership group unlike with McCourt, to spend money in the right way for the right players to make this team competitive and a future World Series contender. This team has a solid start with 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound, with pitcher Chad Billingsley, along with the possible MVP in Matt Kemp, who lost out in 2011 to Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun (@ryanbraun_8). Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) has promised to be in what he calls “Beastmode” and go for 50/50, 50 home runs, and 50 stolen bases. His on base percentage should increase as well. Andre Either should have a much better season and last throughout the season this year, because according to him his legs haven’t felt this great in a long time. James Loney (@JamesLoney7) seems more focused, and ready for the season, along with speedy, and improved base runner Dee Gordon (@skinnyswag9). Who if Gordon has a solid year could be the Dodgers X-factor to assist them with a wild card playoff berth or even contend for a NL West title.
The Dodgers still have a young and talented outfield with Kemp, and Tony Gwynn Jr. With a couple of trades at the deadline and some key off season acquisitions, it will make the Dodger a serious top notch contender for years to come.
Today’s game verses San Diego in beautiful Petco Park should be a manageable yet a win for the Dodgers with Kershaw starting today. The Padres offense is not good at all, the pitching staff is nothing in comparison to the ace that Kershaw is. I expect the Dodgers to take 2 out of 3 at least in this series. They have all the tools in place for now, including solid ownership, which they have lacked for several seasons.
It’s the Dodgers time, the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium, possibly Vin Scully’s last year announcing, new ownership, all I have to say is………Dodger That! Lets Play Ball……
LOS ANGELES – The NL West rivalry heated up on Tuesday night as Diamondbacks slugger Gerardo Parra hit a home run, then as he crossed home plate began to taunt many in the Dodger dugout which allowed Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw to get into a heated war of words between Parra and former Dodger, now Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kurt Gibson.
Many wonder what Wednesday night would bring at Dodger Stadium since Kershaw was the starting pitcher going for his 19th win against the now hated Diamondbacks. Would he retaliate or would he keep his cool and focus not only on the win, and take the opportunity to make an even stronger case for NL Cy Young award?
Kershaw came out on fire in the first inning and his teammates Tony Gwynn Jr who craftily slid home safe to score the first run, thanks to a Matt Kemp single. The Dodgers weren’t finished as Jerry Sands drove in another run, hitting a single in shallow center giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Kershaw was magnificent only allowing one hit until the sixth inning.
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Daniel Hudson showed Los Angeles no mercy as he shut down the Dodgers just allowing two runs through seven innings of work.
In the sixth inning, as Parra batting at the plate, Kershaw threw the pitch which seemed to lose control somewhat, actually hit Parra, and home base umpire Bill Welke immediately ejected him.
Kershaw singled out Welke about the same time as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sprinted out on the field to seek Welke out and ask him why the sudden reaction. Kershaw attempted to plead his ephemeral case that he pitched inside and not intentionally hit Parra. When Kershaw hit the showers, the Dodgers seemed even more determine to get the win not only for themselves but their fallen comrade.
In the eight inning, Dodger hitter Aaron Miles ended the drought as his RBI single gave the Dodgers more run insurance in their attempt to close out the game in the ninth inning.
Dodger closer Kenley Jansen gave up a one run single to Miguel Montero, cut into the Dodger lead 3-2. The next Arizona batter would not be so lucky as Jansen focused and struck out center fielder Chris Young on a breaking ball to end the game.
Dodgers held on to get the victory 3-2. Even though Kershaw was ejected, he got the win, which brings him to an impressive (19-5) record.
After the game Kershaw spoke about his what seem to be unjust ejection “Bill [Welke] is back there just trying to make sure that everything is OK. I understand that he has a job to do, but at the same time, just pay attention to the game and understand what’s going on.”
Manager Don Mattingly who was also ejected for arguing the call also chimed in on Kershaw’s ejection and how his pitching staff pulled it together “The momentum could change there with Clayton coming out of a game he was pretty much dominating. But Josh came in and really did a lot more of the same.”
According to Arizona pitcher Daniel Hudson the Diamondbacks were contacted by MLB and given a swift warning before Wednesday nights game. No one in Dodger organization could confirm if they receive that same MLB warning.