Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 PT, Prime Ticket and MLBN. The Dodgers send out Hyun-Jin Ryu to make his major league debut against Madison Bumgarner.
The Dodgers of the Seventies were noted for the constancy of their infield, running the same four guys out there for years and years. By contrast,
Monday was Andre Ethier’s sixth Opening Day start in right field for the Dodgers, the most in Los Angeles history. His 959 games played in the outfield also are the third-most as a Los Angeles Dodger, trailing only Willie Davis (1,906) and Dusty Baker (1,092).
I had forgotten the outfield has been somewhat of a revolviing door. It may end up that Kemp and Ethier (if the latter isn’t traded at some point in his current five-year contract) set a similar standard for Dodgers’ outfielders as the Cey, Russell, Lopes and Garvey foursome did for the infield.
This amused me when I read it in the preview: “Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was impressed with Ryu’s camp and said the youngster pitched his way behind ace Clayton Kershaw.”
The “youngster” is a year older than Kershaw.
This will be the Game Thread. Lineups will be posted when they’re available.
LF: Jerry Hairston
2B: Mark Ellis
CF: Matt Kemp
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
3B: Luis Cruz
RF: Andre Ethier
C: A.J. Ellis
SS: Justin Sellers
SP: Hyun-Jin Ryu
Cruz hitting fifth has to be a rare thing in his career, I’d think. Crawford’s absence is a bit of a puzzle, although these lifetime stats for Jerry Hairston Jr. may explain it (Crawford has no record against Bumgarner):
“Juan Uribe had the first hit for the Dodgers, a line single, and Andre Ethier the first extra-base hit, a triple off left-hander Leyson Septimo.”
Well might you ask “what the hell is Juan Uribe doing in the lineup at all?” A question, unfortunately, that I can’t answer.
Kershaw started, gave up two runs in two innings, and came out for Belisario. He too gave up two runs in the Dodgers’ eventual 9 – 0 loss to the White Sox.
Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu make their Dodgers exhibition debut Sunday against the White Sox at noon PT on Gameday Audio.
Update: Ownership in the form of Mark Walter and Stan Kasten was present for the game, and had some thoughts for Barry Bloom of MLB.com:
Expectations are high now for the Dodgers, and criticism could follow if they don’t win.
“I suppose people will say we were foolish or something and maybe they’ll even be right, if that’s the case,” Walter said. “I know Stan is going to do everything possible for the long term. We know that you can’t be a perennial strong team, strong franchise, without a farm system and player development. Stan is going to build that.
“I feel that especially in L.A., where there’s been a down period we’ll say, we needed to do something to tell the fans we cared and wanted to be back. Whether that results in a World Series ring right away or not, there’s really no guarantee of that. But it does tell people we care a lot.”
It’s not every day you see a manager pull a double switch which involves pulling the guy who hit a two-run home run earlier in the game and putting a relief pitcher in his spot. That’s what Don Mattingly did in this game, however, taking Andre Ethier out of the number-two spot and replacing him with closer Brandon League while putting little-used utility-man Elian Herrera in the number-nine spot. It paid off in spades when Herrera came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and lined a single off the glove of the drawn-in Marco Scutaro at second base, scoring Hanley Ramirez to give the Dodgers a 3 – 2 win and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.
This was a tight game all evening, with the Dodgers falling behind 1 – 0 on a double by Buster Posey in the very first inning, scoring Scutaro, who’d walked. Ethier got the run back and one more with a booming home run to center field after a Mark Ellis single. The Dodgers had a chance to score an insurance run in the sixth inning, but Adrian Gonzalez’s career-high 47th double of the year was wasted when he was out at the plate on an excellent throw by
Dodger cast-off Xavier Nady after a single by Shane Victorino. Then in the eighth inning the Giants tied the game on a double by Angel Pagan and a single by Scutaro, who took second on Victorino’s ill-advised throw to the plate. Fortunately for the Dodgers, pitcher Kenley Jansen got the next two Giants out with no further damage. League got the Giants out in the ninth, allowing a single by Aubrey Huff but no further damage. That set the stage for Herrera’s heroics in the bottom of the inning.
St. Louis defeated Cincinnati 4 – 2 earlier in the evening, reducing its magic number to one. The Dodgers’ only hope is to win the final two games against the Giants while the Reds defeat the Cardinals in the final two games of the season. That would leave the Dodgers and Cardinals with identical 87 – 75 records and force a one-game playoff between the two teams to determine which goes on to another one game playoff against the Atlanta Braves, who won the National League’s Wild Card #1.
I managed to see the ESPN clips on SportsCenter. That ninth inning was a perfect example of the Dodgers’ last half of the season — out of synch. If Ethier had hit the fly ball that Kemp did the game would probably have been tied and it would have gone to extra innings, but no. Andre struck out, his third strikeout of the game.
Here’s ESPN’s Game Report.
The team is 4 1/2 games back of the Cardinals with 8 games to play. I don’t want to throw in the towel, but it would take a small miracle for them to get past the Brewers and the Cards to make it into the 2nd wild card spot from here. It’s hard to believe this team was 17 games over .500 on June 18 and it’s now only 4 over.