JC's Dodger Line Drives | April 9: Snatching Defeat From Jaws of Victory

J.C. AyvaziSenior Analyst IApril 11, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA- APRIL 9:   Starting Pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of  the Los Angeles Dodgers throws from the mound against the San Diego Padres  during their MLB game on April 9, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Control, or more specifically the lack of control, was the most important element of the final tilt in the four-game season opening series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

The Padres came from behind with three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to edge the Dodgers 4-3. Luis Rodriguez doubled home Nick Hundley with the winning run off Cory Wade, who took the loss.


Playing With Heavy Hearts

The Dodgers, along with all other Major League teams, were playing this game with heavy hearts after the tragic death of Angel pitcher Nick Adenhart and two of his friends in an accident triggered by a speeding drunk driver. In the top of the second inning, Dodger announcer Vin Scully gave a heartfelt tribute and some sage observations about the nature of life. He is no stranger to tragedy, having lost his first wife and a son to accidents. Such profound commentary proves once again why Dodger fans are so fortunate to have Vin in the booth.


Strike Zone, Where Art Thou?

Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw threw 105 pitches in five innings, giving up one run on only two hits and four walks while striking out six Padres. Padre starter Kevin Correia delivered 98 pitches over six innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and four walks while fanning five Dodger batters.


Walk This Way

Dodger batters displayed patience against the Pads, drawing seven walks in the game. Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez each walked twice, one of Manny's was intentional. Blake DeWitt, in his first start of the season, drew one as did James Loney and Rafael Furcal, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eight inning.


Bullet Proof No Longer

The Dodger bullpen ran their season opening scoreless inning streak to 11 1/3 with two scoreless innings from Ronald Belisaro before San Diego broke through with an Adrian Gonzalez home run off Will Ohman. Cory Wade came in and retired the first batter he faced, but then he allowed a triple to Edgar Gonzalez, a single to Nick Hundley, and a double by Luis Rodriguez, which chased home the eventual game-winning run.


Wasted Opportunities

The Dodgers stranded 20 runners, which is a staggering number. The team was a anemic 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. For a team built on offense, this type of performance stinks like a rotting fish sitting out in the sun couple of weeks.


Squeezing Sawdust Out Of The Bat

The principle villain was Russell Martin, who stranded nine runners on his own, almost half the teams total. There are rumors that Martin is fighting a virus. What was certain was Martin's pressing at the plate, particularly in the third inning. He swung at the first two pitches after Correia had walked three of the previous four hitters, the third forcing in Kershaw, who had singled and spent much of the inning on the bases.


Ninth Inning, The Final Insult

After LA fell behind in the eighth, Orlando Hudson led off the ninth inning with a triple to right off Padre closer Heath Bell. Manny grounded out weakly to short, then Either drew his second walk of the game. Bell induced Martin to tap into a game-ending double play to earn his second save and seal the San Diego victory.


The Disgust Is Complete

Dodger fans found no solace, as their arch-rivals were victorious. The San Francisco Giants wiped out Milwaukee 7-1, while the New York Yankees avoided being swept by Baltimore, crushing the Orioles 11-2.