Dodgers pitcher Ted Lilly had a goal in mind and that was to continue the winning streak over the Padres. Fresh of the disabled list, Lilly struggled a little as he gave up a single to Cameron Maybin. He also gave up another key hit to Jose Guzman allowing Maybin to score and the Padres took the the 1-0 lead.
Lilly would settle down as got into a comfortable rhythm to get out of the inning.
Dodger bats hit often and early, as Padres pitcher Joe Wieland walked Dee Gordon, which is dangerous for any defense when Gordon gets on base. Tony Gwynn Jr, hit a deep sacrifice fly to center, Gordon advances to center. Next up Matt Kemp as the crowd loudly chants M-V-P, and Kemp connects on a two run homer, giving the Dodger the lead. The Bats didn’t cool off as Andre Either next up, hit a huge home run, to increase the lead. As James Loney made it on base, Adam Kennedy hit a great sacrifice fly, that caused Loney to score, 4-1.
Wieland wasn’t done handing out gifts, as Gywnn singled and got on base, Kemp reconnected with the ball hitting a monster home run, his second of the day to increase the lead 6-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Lilly was sensational, striking out batters, mixing up his pitches to keep the Padres bats shut off from any hope of scoring.
It was MacDougal time in the eight as Mike MacDougal relieved Lilly to strike out 2 and cause Parrino to fly out to center to end the inning.
Jamey Wright came in to close out the ninth, causing Guzman to fly out to right and end the game giving the Dodger the dominate victory 6-1 over the Padres.
Lilly pitched seven innings on 79 pitches for two hits, four strike outs and one run, while Wieland pitched five innings, on six hits, three home runs and one strike out.
Lilly spoke how he wanted to go more innings “For the most part I was throwing strike one, getting them in swing mode early and then expanding the zone. I felt like I could have stayed in there, but we had a couple of guys who could use some innings.”
Wieland also discussed his dismal performance “I would have liked to start out a little better, but I didn’t locate my fastball early. First-time jitters definitely affected me in that first inning.”
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……