Dodgers Lay Egg in Opening Day Loss: Giants 1 Dodgers 0

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day

Just in time for Easter too. There’s nothing more irritating than losing to the Giants. But losing to the Giants on opening day 1-0 is possibly one of the most aggravating ways to lose to the Giants. That’s exactly what the Dodgers did on Thursday afternoon on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium in front of a sell-out crowd of 53,595 hoping for a positive start to the season. Fat chance for that now.

Joe Panik’s solo home run in the fifth inning was the only run of the game. The Dodgers had a seven game opening day winning streak that was snapped by this wonderful performance. Clayton Kershaw’s opening day streak was snapped as well as the ace southpaw was handed his first career opening day loss. For the record Kershaw pitched well despite not having his best stuff. Unfortunately the Dodger’s lineup without Justin Turner was totally inept.

Losing the first game of the season to the Giants is infuriating so allow me to overreact a little. I know it’s only one game of 162 but the Dodger bats looked pretty bad. I mean when you can’t hit Ty Blach then you probably can’t hit anyone.

Blach who seems to pitch like a Cy Young winner whenever he faces the Dodgers scattered just three hits across five frames to earn the win. He struck out three and walked none while making 81 pitches. Kershaw on the other hand put runners on base throughout the game having to wiggle out of jams nearly every inning.

Giants    1 8 0

Dodgers 0 6 0

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LP-Kershaw-0-1

SV-Strickland-1

HR-Panik-1

Kershaw didn’t have his good curveball working so he went primarily to the fastball slider combo. Overall Kershaw tossed six innings allowing one earned run on eight hits while striking out seven. He walked two and made 91 pitches.

The Giants had ten base runners through the first six innings. In the top of the first Austin Jackson and Joe Panik singled before Kershaw got Newly acquired Andrew McCutchen to ground into a double play. Then he struck out Buster Posey to get out of the inning. The Giants kept the pressure on Kershaw attacking him early in counts and generally being aggressive.

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Hunter Pence’s one-out double and a Brandon Belt single in the third had Kershaw and the Dodgers in hot water again. Kershaw again wriggled out of it by getting Brandon Crawford to foul out and whiffing Blach. In the top of the fourth Posey walked and Pence singled to center but Kershaw strikes out Belt and gets Crawford to fly out to right. The Giants lineup is certainly a lot longer than it was last year because of the acquisitions of McCutchen and Evan Longoria.

Finally things caught up to Kershaw in the top of the fifth. With two outs Panik turns on an inside pitch hooking it just fair inside the right field foul pole to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. McCutchen follows with a double and Posey walked. Kershaw had to strikeout Longoria to end the threat. Kershaw gave up a single in the top of the sixth inning as well. The Giants put runners on base in every inning against Kershaw. He failed to pitch a clean inning today.

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On the other side the Dodger bats were totally ineffective against Blach and the Giant’s bullpen. Through the first five innings the Dodgers had three hits and two of them were from Kershaw. Kershaw’s first single came in the bottom of the third but he was immediately erased on a force out and that was followed with a double play from Corey Seager. Kershaw’s second single gave the Dodgers two whole base runners in the fifth inning after a Yasmani Grandal walk, but Chris Taylor’s force out ended that scoring chance.

After that the San Francisco bullpen took things the rest of the way. Josh Osich pitched a scoreless sixth inning allowing a walk and a wild pitch but nothing else. The Dodgers had their best look at the game in the bottom of the seventh. With Cory Gearrin on the mound, Grandal singled with one out and after a Logan Forsythe fly out pinch-hitter Chase Utley strode to the plate. Grandpa Utley lined a base hit into right field to put runners at first and third. Utley alertly stole second but Taylor struck out looking on a full count called strike.

Former Dodger Tony Watson pitched the eighth inning, and then Hunter Strickland came in to close out. Move to the bottom of the ninth. Matt Kemp led off with a single, after Grandal struck out, Forsythe fouls out. Joc Pederson comes off the bench to ground out and that’s all from the Dodgers on opening day.

Speaking of the Dodger bullpen, they did a fantastic job. We saw the debut of J.T. Chargois who pitched a scoreless frame in the seventh. We can call him shaggy right? Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani both threw shutout innings as well.

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The Dodgers had six singles in the game without an extra-base hit. They drew four walks and left nine runners on base. They were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. Matt Kemp’s first game back with the Dodgers got the start in left field and batted sixth. He was 1 for 3 with a walk. Yasmani Grandal was 2 for 3 with a walk and Logan Forsythe’s cringe worthy performance left five runners on base. Enrique Hernandez was 0 for 2 in the cleanup spot (seriously Dodgers?) and walked twice. Panik and Hunter Pence each had two hits for the Giants.

The season continues Friday evening as the Dodgers hope for a better outcome. Johnny Cueto will counter Alex Wood in the second game of the year. Maybe the Dodgers can score a run tomorrow because this was really hard to watch. I hate losing to the Giants. Hate it, hate it, hate it! So stop it Dodgers, seriously.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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53 thoughts on “Dodgers Lay Egg in Opening Day Loss: Giants 1 Dodgers 0

  1. The curse of the left-handers continues. We just haven’t gotten better facing lefties. 4 hits excluding Kershaw’s 2, sucks. Watson looked invincible in relief. Sorry to see him pitching for the Giants. I liked him and felt he should have been kept. Ah, well.

    Seager and Bellinger continue their slump. Neither seeing the ball well. Does this kind of screwed up batting order have any effect on their woes? Puig batting 3rd, Bellinger 5th? No like. More silly tactics from Roberts.

    Bullpen looked great. Nice debut from Chargois. He continues to pitch well. I guess tomorrow is another day in a long, long, season.

  2. Down one run, runner on first with no outs and Grandal comes up. Even if he gets a walk there it’s a double play waiting to happen. Why do we have so many catchers there if not to bat for Grandal there, even if it’s just to bunt? With a runner on second and one out the complexion completely changes.

    Of course I know the SABRtastc strategy. I don’t agree with it with the players we have, particularly chokers like Grandal. Relying on the come from behind home run will kill you most of the time.

    1. This is what “all or nothing” will sometimes get you. This is who we are, this is what we do. When it works, it’s a thing of beauty. When it doesn’t, 1 run from a beat up rival will be enough. Embarrassing.

      Day 2.

      1. The squirrel got his nuts early and then in the clutch as always lost them again…..he is the worst clutch hitter in the game. I would have pinch hit for his worthless ass.

  3. That was WS Game 7, innings 10 thru 18.

    I have been seeing this coming thru out ST, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. I’m still seeing a manager that really doesn’t know what he is doing, nice guy yes, good manager no.

    1. I get why you would say that True, but I think the last two games embarrassing losses are on the players. Last night 1-5 in this lineup was 0 for 17. The 5 guys who have posted on this thread could do that.

      All or nothing. It’s been nothing for the last 18 innings. Maybe today it’s all.

      And it has to be noted that Forsythe at third makes this team, and this lineup, considerably weaker.

      1. That’s why I have been calling him Forshyte for the last 12 months. Yup, yup, yup.

        Weak, pathetic, disinterested, boring, lacking effort, the list goes on.

        Very difficult to watch, just not entertaining in the least.

  4. You hit the nail on the head there Badger….1-5 0-17 with 8 K’s and 3 walks. That is just down right pitiful. And what in the wide wide world of sports was Roberts thinking batting Enrique 4th? He of the just above the Mendoza line average the last two years and he was cooling off the end of spring. Oh by the way Bluto, it seems RBI’s are not such a worthless stat after all since if the Dodgers could have managed 2 they would have won. Kershaw not at his best wiggles and holds the Giants to 1 and gets the L? Not a good sign. But 161 more chances. I hope we never see #14 in the 4 hole again. Also, I don’t use Pederson as the PH in the 9th. I send Farmer up there because I remember what he did against them last year. Pederson took a first strike right down the pipe that any hitter worth his salt would have creamed. This offense without it’s heart, Turner, is going to struggle especially if Roberts keeps playing musical lineups. Seager and Bellinger both looked over matched. And Bloch is not that good a pitcher except against LA. Gonzo 2-3 in his Mets Debut and drove in a run. Still the butter and egg man and that guy Stanton that the Dodgers passed on hit 2 HR’s on opening day and that wasn’t even the best opening day stat, Davidson of the White Sox hit 3. Cardinals signed Greg Holland to a 1 year deal.

    1. Of course, I would have bunt Kemp over, because they didn’t do anything all day.

      I know Roberts stuck with Grandal because he had been hot and had a couple hits, but he seems to strike out the same way, in clutch situations.

      And Joc of all people doesn’t usually approach these kind of at bats, in the right way, when runners are on base, so I don’t know if I would necessarily would have went with the platoon advantage there.

      But they should have got Blach out of his rhythm, and slowed him down a little, because he was on the mound ready to pitch all day, and the Dodger hitters, allowed this the whole time, he was in the game.

      And I wouldn’t have batted Puig third either, especially against a leftie pitcher, because Puig had trouble with lefties all year, last year

      The best hitter on this team, without Turner in the line up, is Corey.

      I know Corey isn’t doing much, but I would stick with Corey in the third position, or keep the line up, like it normally is.

      Taylor, Corey, Cody, Kemp, Puig, and the rest of our hitters.

      This wasn’t the first time Roberts has hit Kike fourth, but I really don’t think he has had a big game at the plate, when he has hit fourth.

      Both Kike and Puig, try to do to much, when they are hitting at the top of the order, so I would have then batting farther down, in the line up.

    2. Yes, RBIs are worthless.

      >>> BEGIN PASTE

      Why RBI isn’t a good measure of offensive performance in any way is that it doesn’t even capture the performance it means to. Batters do not have equal opportunities to collect RBI. In fact, in some cases the the stars can align and hitters can rack up tons of RBI despite performing quite poorly, simply because they were given very favorable circumstances. Importantly, this is not simply a small sample size issue. While better hitters have more RBI on average the relationship isn’t particularly strong even over entire careers.

      Generally speaking, RBI is not a useful measure of offensive performance. It may be useful as a way to explain the events of a game, but a player having 100 RBI and another having 75 RBI tells you almost nothing about those two players and the seasons they had. Generally, it’s hard to rack up huge RBI totals while having a horrible season, but there are much better stats available, even if you want one that rewards hitters for advancing runners. The key is you have to reward them for all runner advancements, not just the ones that lead to runs.
      >>>>> END PASTE

      Just like wins for a pitcher, as evident by yesterday’s game.

      1. That is nothing but sabermetric bull shit….it takes RUNS to win games. Therefore those who drive in runs are clutch. Those who do not are not clutch. Forshyte left 5 runners on base, therefore he is not clutch. I care less what the hell his OBP or WAR or anything else is…it takes runs to win games end of story. Who in the hell cares about measuring a players worth? Only the geeks. Get the damn job done and drive in runs.

        1. LOL.

          In all honesty, I find your posts and underlying philosophy admirably consistent.

          Obviously, that doesn’t mean I share it, but who cares.

          Good on you.

          1. Oh Bluto, you’re baseball IQ must be quite low if you insist on rbi’s not being worth much. And, then you criticize Norris for his practical views on the game which have been more than enough to make him reasonably correct.

      2. The cut and paste looks like it was presented as a closing argument, end of discussion, I’m right and you’re wrong summation.

        I was reading a piece supporting this position the other day, trying to understand the logic behind such a statement as Bluto’s. The Poindexter writing it sounded to me like the entire base of his knowledge on baseball came from reading Bill James’ book a few months ago. To illustrate his argument he gave reference to Ryan Howard’s 146 RBI in 2008, and how a guy who hit .250 wasn’t to be given any credit for those runs scoring, all credit goes to the two guys in front of him that got on base a lot. Now if this numbchuck had ever played or coached the game above the level of T-Ball he would have looked deeper into Howard’s performance WRISP. It was the first thing I did. With runners in scoring position Howard hit .320 with an OPS over 1.000. Howard was one of those INCREDIBLY VALUABLE players that you wanted to see coming up with runners on base. Who’s that guy on the Dodgers? What’s more, who are those guys on the Dodgers? I look to Seager, Bellinger, Turner. Get on base Taylor. Get on at .400 and you will score 125 runs this year. And I for one will give full credit to everyone involved in those 125 runs.

        1. That’s exactly where it came from Badger, the end of an article. But I think it properly contextualizes the article. RBIs are not an individual achievement. Sometimes, they aren’t even an achievement (slow ground out scoring a runner.)

          The entire article is on FanGraphs. I’ll look for the full link in a bit….

          1. “The key is you have to reward them for all runner advancements, not just the ones that lead to runs.”

            That implies that RBI is a component of some larger category that involves runner advancement that contributes to a team’s scoring, which, of course, is the most important outcome. Can’t win if you don’t score right?

            So it does have some value which means it does have some importance. It’s just a question of how much.

            But that makes your blanket statement “Yes, RBIs are worthless” completely wrong. Way to take a stand Bluto!

            BTW please post the link.

          2. So here is one reason why RBIs are worthless.

            Let’s say there’s batter A we’ll call him Rilly Bamilton. Rilly is really very fast. He hits a triple into the gap. The next batter, Bim Bice, comes up and, with Rilly running on the pitch, is fooled by a change and hits a slow grounder (exit velocity 55) to first. What’s the point of the RBI? It doesn’t signify a quality AB, nor a good swing, nor a good outcome for the batter.

            But RBI counts that just as much as a hard liner to the gap with a slow-footed runner on 2nd.

            Now you could argue that those things happen for every stat. That OBP credits a batter who walks because the pitcher had crazy wildness. That’s true. But at least OBP is just focused on the batter and his opportunity against the pitcher. There’s no external variable impacting the evaluation (Rilly on third with speed.)

            Deeper, RBIs seem to focus on the outcome more than an accomplishment. Your team is down 11-0 and the CF jogs to recover a single as the runner from 2nd scores. You are being rewarded because A. the runner got on 2nd before you and B. the CF lost interest in the game. NEITHER OF THESE VARIABLES reflects anything about your play.

            We have lots of stats that cover this territory that are more representative of the batter’s performance. RISP, OPS. And some more comprehensive stats like WRC+ which factor in external variables and just account for the runs your create (not just happen to drive in) and contextualize them against the league on average.

            The link is here:

            https://www.fangraphs.com/library/stats-to-avoid-runs-batted-in-rbi/

          1. Bluto
            All I am saying is that in your world traditional stats have no credibility. They don’t mean anything to you. At least that is how I take what you say. Correct me if I am seeing this wrong?

          2. I think I wrote elsewhere that Batting Average does have some value.

            But I think my larger point is that almost universally the newer statistics are more comprehensive. In some cases they take into account more factors (like park factors, referenced elsewhere here) they also look at the game in more relevant matters.

            The game is now about not making outs as an offense. This is why bunting and stealing are in decline. You only have 27 outs, don’t give one away easily. The game is more about now finding advantages, this is why platoons, shifting and Starters going 5 innings are more prevalent.

            The modern statistics help explain these modern decisions.

            Thus I find them more useful.

        1. Not sure what you are saying there, MJ.

          BUT, I have thought about it since you posted and I think I agree about a previous point. Batting average, while not as good as OPB/SLG/OPS does have some value.

          I wouldn’t want the Grandal of 2 years ago hitting 1-5 in the lineup, and my best rationale is simply because his BA is just so mediocre.

          Thanks for making me think.

          1. Bluto

            My contention is if a hitter, can hit for a pretty good average, they can learn to take a walk, and have an even better, OBP.

            But if he hitter can’t hit for a pretty good average, it is harder to teach someone to hit, then take a walk.

            I understand not every hitter, comes up with the same amount of opportunities to hit in runs, so I understand what you are saying.

          2. Again, I’m not sure what you are saying.

            Of course if someone is good at making contact, it would be better if they also could take walks.

            And of course if someone was only good at taking walks but couldn’t make contact they’d be less valuable.

            But in both cases the increase in value would show up in OBP and NOT in Batting Average.

            Right?

          3. If a guy is not likely to hit it 110 mph into the third inning of the scoreboard he is not likely to draw a walk. Unless of course he can deliberately foul stuff off until he sees ball 4. Contact hitters can usually put the first strike they see into play. Grandal and Pederson see more pitches cuz they often whiff on strikes 1 & 2.

  5. Good points MJ, except it is a new year and what you have done in the past is not taken into consideration. It did not look like they were trying to do too much, it looked like they were guessing all the time. Hernandez is no #4 hitter. Never has been, never will be. Their approach to Blach was haphazard at best. As for Puig, well, he has hit pretty well for most of the spring and some of it from the 3 hole. And there was not any pressure on him since there was never anyone on. I would have hit Kemp 4th and Bellinger 3rd just like you had them. Bellinger would have seen much better pitches in the 3 hole with Kemp behind him. Joc let a cookie go right by him that first pitch. Forsythe went after a pitch that you could do nothing with but pop it up. But the pitchers did their jobs and the offense did not. 161 to go…..I am not sure Grandal knows how to bunt MJ. He swung from the heels on every pitch.

    1. So many things looked bad yesterday it’s difficult to pin it down to one thing. But, if I had to, I’d say pitch recognition would be at the top of my list. There were a few called strike 3’s and that is inexcusable. Taylor looked at one center cut with runners in scoring position. Are you freakin kidding me? I could hear Krukow from here – “Take a seat meat!”

      Would I have bunted Kemp over? Yep. Of course I would. Play to tie at home. Get him over, get him in. But then the fact of the matter is I’ll bet Grandal didn’t lay down one bunt in ST, so the odds of him doing it successfully are probably less than him striking out in that situation, which he did. Embarrassing.

      But, that was yesterday. We win today.

      1. Badger
        If I had to pick one huge mistake it was batting KiKi 4th. It seemed like the whole team lacked any chemistry and were completely out of whack the whole game. Everytime he came up he did nothing but had opportunities to hit runs in. The fact that it was another stupid move by Roberts is also key. If not for Roberts maybe the lineup would not be this way.

        1. I didn’t understand Kiké hitting 4th unless he’s had success against Blach. Maybe he’s hitting .400 LTTSJ. Lefties That Throw Soft Junk.

          There’s a reason for everything Roberts does. He’s got nothing else to think about but the lineup. And bullpen matchups. What’s for dinner. Do I shower here or wait til I get home. Are sports writers part of the fake news. What exactly is a blockchain. But I think the lineup is at the top of the list.

      2. Badger

        Taylor said he was thinking to much yesterday, but he said, there in no excuse, for taking a slider right down the middle of the plate, so he gets it.

    2. Michael

      You said it doesn’t matter what Puig did against lefties last year.

      What Puig did all year, last year, sure means more, then what he did hitting third, in a few spring games, this year.

      And the point is, both Kike and Puig didn’t get a hit, hitting at the top of the line up yesterday, but they were not the only ones.

      1. I think all the starters should hit against same side pitching until they prove they can’t. When is that? 100 at bats. Or maybe 20 games. If they haven’t been successful then platoon ‘em.

        It is written. Let it be done.

        1. Badger

          I think most rightie hitters, hit righties, more often, then not.

          I think the platoon issue, is harder for Lefties, then righties.

          Because there are so many more righty pitchers.

    3. Bluto

      When a player’s OBP is more from walks then hits, that is not the same.

      Because hits have more value, then walks.

      Walks don’t hit someone in, from second or third, but a single can.

      Yet sabers, value them the same.

      OBP is basically from hits and walks, and these other obscure things, like getting hit by a pitch, or catchers interference.

      Ultimately it is a player’s batting average, that means the most when it comes to OBP, and getting hits, when runners are on base.

      1. There are so many inane things about your response, I’m unsure where to start:

        1. A player’s OBP is never more influenced (except maybe by Votto or peak Bonds) by walks than hits.

        2. OBP is a metric to measure an ability to GET ON BASE. That’s why walks and hits are evaluated the same. You don’t use NASDAQ to evaluate the cost of milk. Even if you do think that hits are more valuable than walks, you must concede walks have some value, right? Batting Average gives them no value.

        3. Sure a single can hit a runner in, but a double has more of a chance? And a triple more than that? Why not find a metric that gives more weight to those hits. Here’s a hint, that metric is SLG.

        4. If you are looking for a stat to use to evaluate a player’s value when runners are on base, then I would suggest RISP. Which is specific to that situation.

        1. Bluto

          The point is a walk is not the same as a hit, but sabers value them, in the same way.

          And some all or nothing hitters, have to depend on walks,, to raise their OBP, because they don’t hit
          consistently.

          And doubles, triples, and HRs, already get credit for extra base hits.

  6. To tell you the truth, I thought the umpire had way to high of a strike zone, and he called a couple of strikes not only to high, but high, and inside.

    But our hitters really had a hard time adjusting to these high strikes, and they allowed Brach to get way to comfortable, from the first inning, on.

    Kershaw’s fastballs yesterday, were at 90 and 91, and on opening day last year, Kershaw’s fastball averaged, just above 93

    1. Ump called it the same way all game, players have to adjust to the umpire, the ump gave them no surprises.

      1. True

        I know, but it is hard to hit a pitch that high, especially when it is inside.

        That one strike the umpire called on Puig, was way to high, and inside, and at his elbow.

    2. MJ
      I think you hit on it. I too have concerns over Kershaw’s velocity. I might be wrong but I think it all started with his back but there is no question he lacks some zip. I hate it but its true. I also don’t think just pitching to spots will keep him the best pitcher of his time.

      1. Package

        I kept on seeing Kershaw’s velocity was at 90, and 91 yesterday.

        And I read that in the LA Times today.

        I think it would be better for Kershaw to throw his fastball, at the top of the strike zone, like Bumgarner does.

        Bumgarner’s velocity has went down too, but you know a fastball is harder to hit, at the top of the strike zone.

        But they have to get it at the top of the strike zone, or just above, out of the strike zone.

  7. Almost game time! At least no Kike in the starting lineup!

    And a greetings to Watford! Hope all is well. Roughly 00:30 on your side of the pond. Enjoy the match vs the Cherries.

  8. @Bluto
    “I think I wrote elsewhere that Batting Average does have some value.

    But I think my larger point is that almost universally the newer statistics are more comprehensive. In some cases they take into account more factors (like park factors, referenced elsewhere here) they also look at the game in more relevant matters.

    The game is now about not making outs as an offense. This is why bunting and stealing are in decline. You only have 27 outs, don’t give one away easily. The game is more about now finding advantages, this is why platoons, shifting and Starters going 5 innings are more prevalent.

    The modern statistics help explain these modern decisions.

    Thus I find them more useful.”

    This is a very well written comment, clear, concise, and ties in what we currently see on the field. I will not say that your RBI scenario, the link you provided and this comment above coalesce. I will defer to a later day after I read that article. But nonetheless an excellent, very articulate comment. Kudos to you.

  9. Bluto

    First I never said walks have no value, that is your words.

    I said walks are not the same as a hit, and that is the truth.

    Also hitters don’t necessarily get walks, only a pitcher can give a walk.

    And hitting is a skill, not getting walks.

    And doubles and HRs aready get a higher value.

    And the main point is not any one stat, will tell you about a hitter, and a batting average is still valued.

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