JC's Dodger View: Pirates & Marlins Ruin LA's Opening Week
Opening Day in Pittsburgh—while warm and breezy, Pittsburgh is not high on the list of places I would hope to begin the season.
Sadly I was not consulted by the schedule makers.
This would be the start of a rather painful week for the Dodgers and their fans, as the team would go 2-4 on a trip most thought would being them home above .500 and near, if not at the top of the division.
Instead, shoddy defense and numerous questionable pitching decisions bring the Boys in Blue back home sharing the cellar with San Diego.
Rafael Furcal leads off against Zach Duke
A great thing about the park in Pittsburgh is the sight line beyond center and right field.
Vincente Padilla breaks the seal on the season
Not so visually pleasing was the work of Vincente Padilla, a mild surprise as the Dodgers opening day starter.
He has never looked good facially and Padilla's pitching performance was gruesome, as well. He gave up a couple of homers and seven earned runs in 4.1 innings of work.
Manny and the Dodger bats did some rumbling
Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Casey Blake, and Blake DeWitt collected two hits each on opening day. Dodger batters collected a dozen hits and pushed across five runs but the lack of clutch hitting repeatedly short-circuited the Dodger offense.
Ten runners were left on base and the team went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Carlos Monasterios makes his debut
Rule five draftee, Carlos Monasterios made his major league debut in the sixth inning, retiring three Bucco's on eight pitches.
As a rule five selection, Monasterios must remain on the major league roster all season or be offered back to the Phillies.
George Sherrill continues his spring struggles
After Los Angeles tightened the game to 8-5, scuffling set-up man George Sherrill gave up a three-run blast to Ryan Doumit to put the first game of the season on ice, in the loss column.
Chinstrap Kershaw inconsistent in second game of season
Clayton Kershaw, the man most look to lead the Dodgers starting staff, continued his bad habit from last year—throwing too many pitches in the early innings.
Chinstrap fired 109 bullets, but could only record 14 outs. He walked six and struck out four while surrendering five hits.
Russell Martin blasts first Dodger HR of season
Dodger catcher Russell Martin, whose early spring training injury made him a question mark to begin the season, cracked a homer to start a Dodger three-run fifth inning to tie the game.
Martin did not hit his first homer until the 69th game of the season in 2009, and spent the offseason lifting weights to improve his power potential.
Subs' lead Dodgers to first victory of the season
Sparked by the slugging of Ronnie Belliard, the Dodgers averted a sweep at the hands of the Pirates by winning the final game 10-2.
Spelling Casey Blake at 3rd base, Belliard collected a double, triple and homer, while driving in four runs.
James Loney and Reed Johnson—patrolling left field in place of Manny Ramirez—also collected three hits each.
Other subs included Brad Ausmus behind the plate, Jamey Carroll at second, and Garrett Anderson in right.
Chad Billingsley salvages some pride for the starting rotation
Billingsley surrendered only one run in 5.1 innings of work, striking out seven, and walking four, while allowing five hits.
Hopefully Bills will continue to perform as he did in the first half of 2009, when he earned All-Star honors.
Hiroki Kuroda dominates Marlins in Florida's home opener
Last seasons opening day starter, Hiroki Kuroda, hurled eight innings to give the bullpen a break after being overworked in Pittsburgh.
He boasted seven Marlins in the strikeout column, allowing five hits, one walk and one unearned run.
If healthy, Kuroda could be a front of the rotation starter the Dodgers need desperately.
Dodger offense sparked from the top
Lead-off hitter, Rafael Furcal paced the Dodger offense with three hits as L.A. leveled their record at 2-2.
Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez continued to sprinkle hits all over the park, showing he has returned to a balanced swing after a poor second half of 2009, when he seemed to try and hit three homers in each at bat.
Charlie Haegar's knuckler dances around the Fish sticks.
After Haegar's darting knuckleball struck out 12 Marlins in six innings, while allowing three runs, the Dodgers brought in Jeff Weaver for his fifth appearance in six games.
This time Weaver couldn't get the job done, surrendering two runs in the bottom of the seventh as the Dodgers kicked away a second opportunity for victory late in the game.
Dodgers cough up lead in final two games against Florida.
Despite some stellar defensive plays such as Loney's pick of a excellent throw from Belliard on Sunday, the Dodger bullpen gave away the final two games of the series.
Up next: coming back to L.A. for the home opener
In addition to viewing shoddy play on the field, Dodger fans have been tortured by the lack of proper narration as the team's hall of fame announcer Vin Scully no longer travels outside of the National League Western division for telecasts.
After a day off on Monday, the Dodgers and Vin will return on Tuesday at 1 PM PST to host the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for Los Angeles while the Snakes will start former USC Trojan, Ian Kennedy