There was pretty much no chance in hell that this year’s home opener was going to top last year’s…
Wow. Just, wow. Where do you even start? I’m not kidding when I say the fact that Chad Billingsley’s fantastic eleven strikeout performance (including six of his last seven betters) may only be about the fifth best thing that happened today. Seriously, things just do not come together better than this. How about the fact that any Opening Day under blue skies at Dodger Stadium is pretty much the best day of anyone’s life? The record-setting 57,000+ crowd? Vin Scully’s moving first pitch and commentary? The offensive explosion against the hated Giants, including Orlando Hudson’s cycle - a Dodger Stadium first? And Andre Ethier’s two homers?
…but this came pretty close. Okay, no one hit for the cycle, but the four-homer outburst (as Vin noted, the Dodgers hit three homers on the six-game road trip and four in the first six innings today) against another division rival sure got the crowd going. And if you had to ask the crowd, “which Dodgers would you want to see hit homers?”, wouldn’t Manny, Kemp, and Ethier almost certainly be the top 3? Talk about crowd pleasing – no offense to Casey Blake, of course.
Can we also mention Blake DeWitt for a second? If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you’ve heard me rail on how pointless wins are time and time again. Well, batting average isn’t quite as bad as wins, but it’s up there… and DeWitt is proving why. Thanks to three walks today, DeWitt had a tidy 0-0 afternoon. He may only be hitting .267, but his OBP is up to .522. Dig that again: .522.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news, because something simply must be done about the bullpen. Clayton Kershaw was effective if not efficient in allowing 2 ER over 5.1 innings, and Jeff Weaver finished up the 6th for him. When Ethier homered in the bottom of the 6th, we were looking at a 9-2 laugher. Yet Ramon Ortiz came in and was predictably horrible, allowing three runs on three hits (including a Mark Reynolds blast) and a walk. As you can see, this has spawned the birth of the “Ortiz DFA-O-Meter” to the top right, as they battle to see which one gets dumped first. So what was once a blowout became a situation in which the top two relievers (Ramon Troncoso and Jonathan Broxton) had to contribute 2.1 innings.
That may not seem like a big deal today, but we saw this exact thing happen last week. Just wait until one of the next two games when it’s a tight situation, and now one might not be available, simply because Ramon Ortiz can’t hold a 7-run lead. So then you’re left with counting on George Sherrill again, and we’ve seen how that turns out. I know Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo are due back any day now but… we just can’t put up with these two much longer.
Besides, as Chad from MOKM rightfully asked, where was Carlos Monasterios? He hasn’t pitched in nearly a week – since April 8. I can’t think of any better situation for a Rule 5 pick than with a 7-run lead, and it’s not like the Ortizes are doing any better.
Finally, behold the magic of Twitter. Eagle-eyed fan ED_in_DE pointed out to me that during Ethier’s 6th inning home run… he was using Matt Kemp’s bat. I went back and looked at the tape, and I’ll be damned: he’s absolutely right.
What gives with that? I wonder if it’s the same bat that Kemp used to hit his own homer earlier in the game.