Through seven innings of today’s home opener, this was somewhat surprisingly a pitcher’s duel. No surprise that Clayton Kershaw was shutting down the Pirates, of course, but Pirates pitchers Kevin Correia & Juan Cruz had allowed just six hits over seven one-run innings. (Kershaw, by the way, has now pitched 10 innings and has allowed just the one run on six hits, with a 10/1 K/BB. His record remains 0-0, and he’ll end up something like 14-11 with a 1.98 ERA. It’ll be fantastic.) For those of us saddened to have to listen to Charley Steiner & Steve Lyons rather than the ill Vin Scully, the speed of the game was almost welcomed.
On his 30th birthday, Andre Ethier changed all that, taking a Jason Grilli pitch deep to right field in the bottom of the 8th, providing the margin in a 2-1 victory. (And the curtain call was wonderful.) Ethier now has six hits on the season, and only one is a single; this was his second homer to go with two doubles and a triple. Juan Uribe collected three of the other four Dodger hits, and while we’ll take what we can get from him, he’d better be pouring one out to the BABIP gods tonight as not a single one was particularly well-struck. James Loney went hitless again and has just two walks in 16 plate appearances thus far; Kenley Jansen & Javy Guerra finished up the last two innings while allowing just one batter to reach between them, with Guerra collecting his third save of the season.
The Dodgers are now 4-1, and spirits are high. Did we really underestimate them before the year? I’m not prepared to say that just yet, not with the Padres & Pirates hardly being top competition and not with an infield that is doing little to dispel our concerns about their total lack of offense. Still, we all knew that if this team was going to go anywhere, they’d have to take advantage of a soft early schedule, and so far they’re doing just that, with five more games against the same two teams coming up.
So far, so good.