JC's Dodger Line Drives | April 6: Out of the Chute and Vanquishing Peavy

J.C. AyvaziSenior Analyst IApril 7, 2009

SAN DIEGO - APRIL 06:  Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres on April 6, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.  The Dodgers won 4-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Greetings Dodger fans and blood enemies, JC here. I'll be trying to string a few thoughts nightly about the finest team in the Majors, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Won't lose any sleep about folks who would criticize this article series for being biased, mainly because it is. However, my mission is to be informative and bring a laugh or two to the party as well.

The Dodger Line Drives element of the headline for these articles goes back to the O'Malley days when the Dodger organization would publish a monthly newsletter for distribution to all in their ticket data base.

Many issues from the '70s and '80s reside in my archives. I have not seen it for a few years, so will make the rash assumption the Dodgers no longer publish under that name.

Kuroda Kapers - Immediate dose of pain for those looking to bash the Dodger pitchers as the new ace of the staff (did I really just say that?) continues where he left off in the 2008 Postseason. Cub and Phillie fans would find his work on Monday sadly reminiscent. Only two strikeouts for Hiroki, but he surrendered four hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. Happy to trade punch-outs for a WHIP under 1.0 any day.

Kemp Comes Up Big - It's a baseball truism that coming right back to score after giving up runs swings momentum. Matt Kemp did that one better. His diving catch of a line drive into the sun helped short-circuit a Padre rally in the bottom of the sixth. Leading off the seventh with a massive homer to center was a dagger to the heart for San Diego's chances.

Mientkiewicz Channels Sweeney - Hoping this isn't a preview of coming attractions, new back up corner fielder Doug Meintkiewicz took strike three looking with two runners on while pinch hitting for Kuo in the top of the ninth. At last report, Mark Sweeney, he of a .130 batting and .163 strikeout average last year as the team primary lefty pinch hitter, is still at Camelback Ranch working with the minor leaguers. Fear for the youth.

Loney Lashings - First baseman James Loney started off the season right, driving in the first two runs of the year in the top of the first inning. Loney went 3 for 4, all singles, with two going to left and another line drive to center. Must have looked very familiar to former Padre Tony Gwynn, who was at the game and participated in pregame ceremonies.

Get The Balance Right - One game and one win into the new season, just right for the second guessing to begin. Have to wonder if the Dodger lineup would be more effective if Loney batting fourth and Kemp fifth wouldn't be better, followed by Either sixth and Martin seventh. Loney is less susceptible to extended slumps compared to Either and Kemp has more power than Martin.

Herman Munster Behind The Plate? - No, it's just big Tim McClelland calling balls and strikes. Can't see him without thinking of George Brett and the Pine Tar game against the Yankees. Speaking of the pinstriped villains, how 'bout that 10-5 loss to the Orioles with the Fort Knox on two legs more commonly known as CC getting slapped around.

Broxton Brings It - First time out and Jonathan Broxton puts the Pads to sleep with a punch out, a pop out, and another punch out to put the game on ice. Sure it's nice and all, but Chase Headley, Drew Macias, and Luis Rodriguez isn't a threesome that strikes fear into the heart of the opposing team. Still, victory is ours, the Dodgers are in first place, and all is right in the baseball world.