L.A. Dodgers: Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw Return to Form for Home Opener

Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIApril 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 10:  Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his solo homerun to take a 2-1 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth inning during opening day at Dodger Stadium on April 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 2-1.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers are starting their season off the right way: winning.

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, there was a ball player.  Not just any ball player, but one who had the capability to captivate fans with his ability to produce late-inning and walk-off home runs that led to wins for his team.

That man was Andre Ethier.

While injuries have had their toll on Ethier in recent memory, on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, Ethier showed the fans that he can still rake when in need.

Ethier broke up a tied game in the eighth inning by blasting a solo shot to give the Dodgers a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, bringing the team record to 4-1 to start the 2012 season.

This feat came on the man's birthday and the home opener celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium.

It appeared to be a perfect storm.

After having to leave his Opening Day start after just three innings, Clayton Kershaw returned to the mound to pitch seven impressive innings, allowing just one run (coincidentally that run coming in the seventh inning) on four hits and seven strikeouts.

This Pirates team that the Dodgers are facing should not be taken lightly.  Sure, they're 2-2 to start the season, but they just came off of a three-game series with the vaunted Philadelphia Phillies, taking two games in the series.

Though the voice of Vin Scully was missing, the magic was still there—uh, and actually, Magic was still there.

This season has a very special feel to it already.  As if there is some type of aura encompassing the team, the vibes emitted are nothing but positive.

Dodger baseball is back.

Pride has returned to the boys in blue.

While it is much too early to get ahead of oneself, it sure feels like this is going to be a fun season to watch unfold. Five games down, 157 more to go.

Buckle up.