Los Angeles, CA – Opening Day blues started early for the Dodgers. After having their home opener spoiled with a 8-4 loss to the Giants. LA had troubles long before the first pitch was thrown. Matt Kemp who was activated today after a rigorous off-season workout was not listed in today’s lineup.
That led to a disgruntled center fielder and a remorseful manager. Don Mattingly tried to explain his reasoning for benching Kemp and even compared his situation to NBA Star Dwayne Wade. But Yasiel Puig’s tardiness during batting practice got him benched and that put Kemp back in the lineup.
“That wasn’t how we drew it up to start this one,” said Mattingly.
“I knew that I wasn’t going to play when I showed up late,” Puig said. “I feel very sad that I wasn’t able to play. It’s not something that I’m proud of and I take full responsibility.”
The Dodgers woes continued when Hyun-Jin Ryu took the mound lasting only two innings. Taking a 6-0 lead in the first frame, San Francisco at-bats stayed hot. Ryu surrendered six hits on six runs, Buster Posey doubled on a line drive and Michael Morse singled to Kemp in center field scoring in both Sandoval and Posey while advancing to second on Kemp’s error.
Brandon Belt hit a RBI single and Ryan Vogelsong singled on a pop up scoring in Belt and Brandon Hicks. Angel Pagan followed with another RBi single and gave the Giants a 6-0 lead. The hits didn’t stop there, Hicks RBI double and Joaquin Arias RBI single extended their lead 8-0 in the second.
“It felt like two different games,” said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. “We had everything fall into place in those first two innings. Voggie had a good start early but then his pitches caught up to him.”
“It’s just mechanical stuff,” Vogelsong said. “It’s the same thing that I’ve been struggling with last year. It’s just a bad habit that I’ve got when I’m thinking too much, it just gets away from me.”
Ryu finished with eight hits, eight runs (six earned), three walks (one intentional) and two strikeouts. The bullpen took over in the third and quieted San Francisco’s bats. Vogelsong had done a good job of getting out of a few jams until, he gave up back-to-back homers to both Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Either. The last time two Dodger players homered back-to-back was on Sept 13, 2013 from Juan Uribe and Andre Either.
LA rallied back in the fifth when Kemp singled to center field and scored in Carl Crawford. Vogelsong allowed three more consecutive hits and his time on the mound was over. David Huff came in and struck out Gonzalez. But gave up a run when Either singled to center field. Sandoval’s defense came in handy when he caught Uribe’s line drive and Huff struck out A.J. Ellis leaving two stranded to end the inning.
“Those first two innings were sloppy,” Kemp said. “We didn’t do a good job of anything. But we kept fighting and the bullpen did a good job keeping us in the game.”
While the Giants struggled on offense they kept the Dodgers at bay with good defense. Bottom of the seventh, Ramirez stole second and looked to be out. Bochy ran onto the field calling for the reply and the call was in favor of San Francisco, one out and no one on. Two strikeouts later and the Giants got out of that inning unscathed.
LA’s bullpen pitched a no-hitter through seven innings and was the highlight of the game. They combined for 10 strikeouts facing 21 batters. But luckily for the Giants they did all of their damage early providing enough defense to seal their victory in this three-game series.
“We tried to get good at-bats,” said Sandoval. “They had a different rhythm by using a lefty and a righty in the bullpen and that threw us off.”