Dodgers Come Up Short in First Game of Freeway Series

Opening Day is almost here, which means it’s time for the annual Freeway Series.  It’s the Dodgers vs the Angels! Dave Roberts‘ baseball strategy vs Mike Scioscia‘s! Red vs Blue! LA vs Not LA!

Ok, it’s still Spring Training, so it’s not really that exciting. But it’s still baseball, and it’s fun. Here’s how Game 1 played out.

Kenta Maeda started things off right with a perfect three innings, topped off by four strike outs.

Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan followed up with equally quiet innings. Stripling had the only blemish with one walk in the fifth.

The game’s early innings flew by pretty fast. The Dodgers were hitting plenty of balls right on the screws, but they were also hitting them right at people. As a result, they went into the seventh inning with a very slim 1-0 lead. 

And then the big blue wheels came off the wagon.

Brandon Morrow came in and promptly gave up a double to lose the no-hitter. He eventually loaded the bases and then emptied them (in a bad way).  Morrow faced seven batters, walked two, and gave up three runs on 25 pitches. It was now 3-1 Angels. 

Kenley Jansen stepped in for the 8th and promptly gave up a lead off single to number 88. He then settled down and found his groove and his speed. The next three Angels went away accordingly. 

In the ninth, after Cody Bellinger went down on a third strike, one-knee swing a la Adrian Beltre, back up catcher Austin Barnes showed him how to properly bash one out. Barnes hit it high and far into the night to bring the Dodgers within one run.

The boys kept the rally going and eventually got two on with two out. Scott Van Lucky to Make the Team came up with the chance to be the hero. He sputtered one at the shortstop and the Angels were the winners 3-2.

Bright Spots:

Kiké Enrique Hernandez was solid at short stop.

Andrew Toles piled up offensive stats with most bases, a double, and a two out RBI.

They go at it again tomorrow in Anaheim. Got it? Not LA – Anaheim.

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Oscar, Kike played SS. Forsythe was at 2nd. Scotty had a decent spring and he also plays 1st base. That is why he made the team over Thompson. He can also play all 3 outfield positions. Give the Angel hurlers some credit, they made good pitches when they needed to and the Dodger bats were not exactly lighting up the night. Morrow had done a good job most of the spring and is headed to OKC anyway, so giving up 3 runs in an exhibition game means nothing. Gas Can Hatchet Man would probably have done the same. I was… Read more »

Artieboy
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Artieboy

Toles in LF? FAZ will accept less defense in exchange for offensive production. But I don’t know man, I don’t know!

But we are predicted to win ninety something games, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

He really does not look all that comfortable out there, but with Ethier injured it is him SVS or Gutierrez. Predictions mean nothing. I think this division is going to be a dog fight.

MJ
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MJ

Artieboy Unless I missed something that Toles did in the game last night, on defense, I don’t know what you are talking about with Tole’s defense. He actually had six or seven runs saved in leftfield last year, and that was more runs saved, then any other outfielder on the team. Both he and Thompson, need to learn how to run better routes, but Toles speed lets him catch up to more balls, while he is learning. He being out of baseball that one year, put him a little behind in the outfield. He did play all year last year,… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

Toles is ok out there. If he can hit around .275 I’d be happy with him. He and Gut will likely platoon. I would think the two of them would add up to an average ML left fielder, and that is all we will need as we are above average at a few other positions.

Ok Hill. Show us you’re game face.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Trouble is, he is not a starter. If Ethier was healthy he would not even be on the roster. He would be in OKC. Now most likely he will be starting a lot because a majority of pitchers are right handed. RF and CF are covered by Puig and Pederson and they are going to get the bulk of the playing time out there. Both are superior defenders at their positions. Players on this team who can play more than one position are highly valued. About the only guys you are going to see playing the same position every time… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael What I was talking about Toles starting in A ball, and going all the way up to the majors, after being off for an entire year. He has anxiety issues when he first started playing, but he hasn’t had that problem at all, now. When he was climbing up the Dodger’s organization last year, he had to meet a bunch of new players and coaches on the way up, and had to move to different areas along the way. You make an excuse for Puig, after he has been in the majors for four years, but you can’t understand… Read more »

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

I hate to tell you this, but Toles is maybe the 6th or 7th best outfielder in this organization. I am not easy on Puig, I just think the guy has a lot more talent than almost anyone out there. And also MJ, Puig has played in parts of 4 seasons, but according to the MLB his actual service time at the beginning of last year was 2 years 116 days. So you take the days he was actually on a major league roster and now he is just over 3. Joc Pederson is a far better CF than Kike,… Read more »

Idahoal
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Idahoal

Artiebo

I agree with MJ. I saw nothing last night that would tell me Toles is a bad defensive outfielder.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Not saying he is a bad outfielder. I was saying he looked very uncomfortable out there last night and it looked like he might be having problems with the lights. I think what artieboy is referring to is Toles lack of pop. Ethier, SVS, Gutierrez, and Thompson all are power hitters. You usually like your corner outfielder to have some home run pop. And MJ, where he starts playing has no impact on how he plays. He does not take very good routes, and neither does Thompson, but they both can over come some mistakes because of speed. Ethier and… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael We have plenty in this line up, that can hit the ball out. We need a player to keep this offense more productive, not another all or nothing hitter, like Joc and Grandal. Those two, can be two easy outs, at the end of the line up, at times. But Grandal has tried to make himself a better hitter this year, and he hasn’t tried to hit every ball out, in spring training. And Toles does have more power then some think. He also seems to hit the ball out, when there are runners on base, and that is… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

And I agree with you about Kike.

It isn’t fair that he is on the major league team, because of what he did, in the first year, he was on the team.

Hawkeyedodger
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Hawkeyedodger

Remember that’s why Mattingly pushed for more night games in ST. It is an adjustment going from day games in AZ to night games in pro stadiums. Especially Dodger Stadium. I’m not sure why you don’t consider him a real starter though. He started in the post season last year, crushed it last year, and tore it up in ST. It was going to be neck and neck between him and Andre. I hope they hit him 2nd and he runs with it. The Dodgers could use some speed at the top of the order.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

He would not have made the team if Andre had not been injured. Why? Andre’s contract. And the fact the only way they would have gotten him off the team would be to release him because he said early he would use his veto power as a 10-5 player to veto any trade.

MJ
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MJ

Michael

I guess your a just HR men.

I like HRs too, but I don’t think our line up needs another all, or nothing hitter.

And I do like Ethier, he is a good hitter, with power.

He actually was the most productive player on offense in the outfield, the last time he played, the entire season.

And he was the best offensive player on the team that year, in the second half of the season.

And really our outfield last year, didn’t have a lot of offensive production.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

MJ, Joc is a lot better hitter than Grandal. He actually improved the 2nd half of last year. He does not hit into as many DP’s as Grandal, and he almost hit .250. He has 40 homer potential. He does strike out a lot, but most power hitters do. Toles is to me a nice complementary piece. But an everyday outfielder? That remains to be seen. He has played less than 3 months in the majors. So we will see what he does with this opportunity to play extended innings. I like Thompson better. I think he is a more… Read more »

Chili
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Chili

I also agree. I’m not sure he is a bad defensive outfielder. He does hustle. Sometimes he takes bad angles. I also agree with Michael that he does not look comfortable out there…….so my thought is that he is always trying to prove himself (hence coming up mid-season last year & then this year being the odd man out) and plays with much pressure. It is possible that if he was out there on a regular basis that he would relax and quite possibly improve his defensive play. But is that the way of the Dodgers going forward, to have… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Chili

That is all I am saying, is give him a chance.

He did start at A ball last year.

And we need a hitter that keeps this offense going, so I hope he can hit like he has.

This offense has problems, hitting runs in, when people are on base.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Again MJ, where he started makes not one iota of difference. It is a personal accomplishment and nothing else. You are basing a lot on hope, well we all hope for the best. you like Toles and his slap style a lot, that’s great. And when the pitchers start dialing it up, it is not as easy to get those 2 out hits. Games on the line, it is going to come down to what have you done for me lately. And Chili, the everyday player is slowly going the way of the DoDo. Except for the superstars, teams are… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael

You right about that, everyone is going to have to adjust as the season, goes along.

And I do hope Toles can make that adjustment.

And I will give him a chance.

I am tired of players being on third and second, and watching certain players, swinging from there heels, with two strikes.

When a hit or a sac fly, or ground out, to the right, will get a run home.

And those type of all or nothing hitters, don’t hit thar well, in the post season.

MJ
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MJ

And It is your hope, that Joc will be able to hit 250 and still hit lefties.

And I hope Joc will too, because that would mean, he is becoming a better hitter.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

MJ when I said .250, I mean hit that against lefty’s. I think Joc has the tools to hit at least .275 or better. He should crush righty’s with that swing. We will see how he adjusts. My biggest problem with Toles is really not his fault. I think his speed is wasted at the tail end of the lineup. He should be batting in a spot where he sets the table, not clears it.

BJ
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BJ

Michael is right about seeing the ball off of the bat in center field, typically the pitcher is in the way.
I used to move over just enough to see, which would sometimes put me out of position.

Badger
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Badger

What is it about this site that triggers so many moderations? It interrupts the flow of conversation and is annoying.

MJ
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MJ

Badger

I haven’t had any problems lately, so maybe you should ask Scott.

I know when I have to much history on my phone, Scott says that that, can cause that.

Badger
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Badger

Good tip MJ. That might have been it. Just cleared about 18 pages.

I think all but one guy, who ain’t here anymore, would like to see a full year out of Ethier, but I’m fine with a Gutioles platoon. I’m more concerned about our pitching, but even with that I think we win the West.

MJ
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MJ

Badger Yes I do like Toles, but I do like Ethier too. And if Ethier would have been healthy last year, his offense, would have helped a lot. And he is still the best bat we have, in the outfield. I have a feeling we will not win it all, until 2018, because that will be thirty years. And Urias will be farther along, as well, as our other young pitchers. But I always hope, it is this year. What do you think about the two long men, in the bullpen? I think there will only be one, after a… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Badger

I did have trouble trying to correct one of my posts, so I thought I would tell you that.

Artieboy
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Artieboy

I’m all for giving Toles a chance, he earned it. But he looks: shaky, nervous, anxious, etc in LF, for whatever reason. And I have no idea why. Not used to LF? Day games in AZ, now a night game? His personal history? Who knows

Hopefully that begins to dwindle. Otherwise as Michael Norris said, he’ll be on a flight back to OKC when Ethier returns.

MJ
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MJ

Artieboy

You seem like a very fair guy, so that is why I was suprised you said that.

But I think Chili is right about about Toles, just being a little nervous, and trying to be perfect, so he won’t let the team down.

And you must have sensed that.

I just give Michael a hard time, because he is a lot more understanding, when it comes to Puig and Joc.

But he is a good guy too!

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Funny we have been talking about Toles fielding in LF and he makes an error on a ball that he should have picked up with his hand, but instead tried to use his glove. The error did not hurt the team, but they had to pitch out of trouble with a guy on 3rd. Not long after that play Orel and Joe were talking about Toles and how he had said that he needed to work on balls on the ground to him in LF. Because those are the ones that give him trouble. He made a nice play on… Read more »

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

You give me a hard time? Naw, you just disagree with me a lot, and I look at the game a lot different than you since I played until I was in my late 20’s. Then the legs went. Toles is nervous? I think Toles is doing the same thing in a different way that Puig and Pederson are doing. He is putting pressure on himself. When you press, you hold the bat a little tighter and you are not loosey goosey when you play. More than anything at the major league level, you need to play relaxed and not… Read more »

dodgerrick
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dodgerrick

My predictions: 1 – 4 of the Dodgers’ opening 5 starting pitchers will end up on the DL this year (Kershaw the exception). Kazmir already on the DL; Ryu the 1st of the opening 5 to get there 2 – This will be the year that the Dodgers trade Puig. He’ll go in a deadline deal. 3 – The Dodgers will use at least 13 starting pitchers this year – the current 5 plus Kazmir, Wood, Urias, Stripling, Stewart, 2 other guys from the minors and a deadline acquisition. (They used 15 last year.) 4 – Kershaw wins another Cy… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Dodger Rick,

You are the guy that makes it real, and I can see much of that happening.

But I do know you want the best for the team.

I wish we had at least one more really good pitcher too.

I hope our young pitchers get up to the majors soon.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Well you are stuck with Hill for 3 years, McCarthy for 2…….so that’s 2 old guys blocking the kid starters, and of course we do not know what Kersh is going to do, oh yeah Kazmania has 2 years left on his deal. Wood I think will end up being trade bait.

Chili
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Chili

DR—-
1 – Agree. In fact it could easily be all 5.
2 – Puig goes IF the Dodgers are not in first place at the deadline and he is tradable (i.e. not on DL).
3 – Agree on 13 as well.
4 – IF Kershaw throws 220 Innings plus than yes.
5 – I’ve got 88 wins and I’m sticking to it.
6 – Agree
7 – If that happens that is not a good sign for a couple of the OF’s.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

I doubt they platoon in CF. Puig’s play will dictate whether it happens in RF, but LF is definitely a platoon position.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

I was reading a story on the best defensive outfielders in the majors on MLB.com. Not one Dodger outfielder cracks the top 5 at any OF spot. I thought that was weird since Puig and Pederson are two of the best in the NL, but not according to statcast, which is one reason I dislike sabermetrics so much

Artieboy
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Artieboy

Who do they rank as the top CF in the NL?

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

They had Hamilton up there, Blackmon and Pollock. In the AL the big gun is Keirmeier of the Rays other CF over Joc, Adam Eaton of the Nats and Starling Marte who moves there from LF for the Bucco’s

bluto
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bluto

I think, and have read, that rating defensive players the best is a hard game to play (pun!)

On one hand several metrics use distance covered and best route as key metrics, but doing so penalizes players who play for teams that move their OF around a lot (like, incidentally, the Dodgers.) Other systems deal more with the balls played (good throws, quick release, clean pick up of grounders) which tends to often miscredit OFs who don’t move very far and just handle what is hit directly at them.

Bobby
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Bobby

Nice inning there by Hatcher

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

shock and surprise……

MJ
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MJ

Bobby

I bet your really excited for opening day this year, since you have your season tickets.

I hope you can get the day off, and go to the game!

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

SVS playing CF now. Gutierrez in LF. Hatcher actually got 4 outs without giving up a run…..alert the MEDIA!

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Well Dodgers square the series 1-1 with a 3-1 win. Hill went 3 2/3rds but was not impressive at all. He did get robbed on a couple of calls and Toles put him in a bad spot with an error that allowed a runner to get to 3rd, but the defense bailed him out, especially Forsythe who was playing 3rd while Turner was the DH. He made a couple of spectacular plays. Avilan, Hatcher, Romo Jansen and Ishler closed it out. Bats were pretty silent most of the night except for Turners solo blast. Then they scored 2 in the… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael Even though you got all upset because people got upset with Puig for striking out, then having a tantrum and throwing his bat down on the ground in front of the umpire, you do the exact same thing to Toles. He isn’t the first outfielder, that had trouble fielding a grounder that hits off, and rolls against the fence. Puig actually has over ran hits on the ground in the outfield, trying to get to the ball, and has made misplays on the same type of hit, that Toles dealt with last night. In fact Puig hit a ball… Read more »

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

I am pretty critical sometimes. I know that. But I played the game long enough to know it is not that easy. So when players do things I try to gauge the situation. If it is a really dumb move, then I get a little more irritated. That ball Toles booted was under the padding out there, trying to field it with your glove in that position is not a smart thing to do. But it did not cause them to lose, so it is a learning experience. I think you misjudge the fact that Puig is always under pressure.… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael I had high hopes for Puig, when I found out that Roberts would be, the manager. I already knew that Mattingly didn’t handle certain players well, so I thought Roberts, would be the manager, that would accept Puig, and try to help Puig, get better. But after I found out, that Puig wasn’t doing what he was suppose to do, and he was being a hand full for Roberts. I felt Puig needed to grow up, and do the things he is suppose to do, and not take advantage, of Robert’s kindness. And that is when I changed my… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael

And about Gutierrez, I thought since he played in the same league as the Angels, he would know the Angel’s pitchers, pretty well.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

The guy he got the double off of, Yates is new to the Angels. He came from the Yankees system, so I do not think Gutierrez has seen this kid before. Garret Parker, the last Angel pitcher last night, has struck out the last 17 batters he has faced……that is totally unbelievable, and nobody wanted the guy this winter. He had been released 4 times….

MJ
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MJ

Michael

I guess we should give be a little more understanding, when the front office, takes a chance with pitchers, like Parker.

Like they did, when they got Dayton.

The Angels must have two pitchers with the first name Garret.

Wasn’t the Angels pitcher, that started the game, also named Garret, but his last name, is Richards?

I wonder where Badger is today.

I hope he is out having a good time.

Michael N. Norris
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Michael N. Norris

Yes, Garret Richards.