Dodgers Let Varsity Play. Naturally, They Win

After the Dodgers hammered the Padres on opening day, and handed a win to them last night by benching two of their best offensive weapons, the rubber match was next up on the schedule. 

Rich Hill took the mound for his 2017 debut. Although he’s pitcher number three in the starting rotation, he’s my choice for ace number two on this pitching staff. 

Hill and his curveball started out fast. He faced the minimum amount of batters in the first inning with a strike out and a double play.

The Dodgers’ offense also came out like a team with a mission in the first inning. Corey Seager started things off with a double, and Adrian Gonzalez followed up with a ground rule double of his own to score Seager. Gonzalez then came home on a Padres throwing error. After one complete inning, the boys in blue were up 2-0. 

Hill was steady, not giving up a base hit until the fourth inning. wil Meyers was the first Padre to get a hit. Later Myers tried to steal second, but Hunter Renfroe poked the ball foul.  Myers slid head first into second, and didn’t know the ball was foul.

Myers stood up and asked Forsythe what happened? Forsythe told Myers he was OK to stay there, on second. It became comical when the umpires directed Meyers back to first and he realized Forsythe had joked him.

Meyers insisted on stealing and was thrown out by Yasmani Grandal a couple of pitches later. That was an important out because Renfroe blasted one out to make the score 2-1. 

Then came the bottom of the fourth and Puig happened! Yasiel launched a solo homer deep into the pavilion to put the Dodgers up 3-1. 

By the sixth inning, Rich Hill had three walks. On one hand, he was being squeezed awfully tight by the home plate umpire. On the other, Hill’s biggest enemy was himself. He had a good bit of trouble dropping in that strike three pitch, so he kept letting batters with two strikes get off the hook. On the bright side, his defense played well behind him and kept the Padres from ever mounting a serious threat. 

Sergio Romo had his Dodgers debut in the 6th. His first batter hit a lazy fly out, but the next batter hit a ground rule double. However, Romo escaped without surrendering a run.   

The Dodgers bats remained quiet for another inning, and Alex Wood took over on the mound for the Dodgers in the 7th. Wood went two scoreless innings, setting things up for Kenley Jansen in the ninth. 

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Solarte – 3u

Renfroe – K swinging

Schimpfe-  3-1

Jansen went 1,2,3 and cemented the win for the boys!

Rich Hill went 5 innings with 2 hits, one earned run, 3 walks and 5 Ks. 75 pitches and 46 strikes. 

Hill gets the win. Jansen gets his first save.

“The Award You Want but Mom Hates” goes to Joc Pederson, with the dirtiest home whites. Runner up: Justin Turner

“The Award You Don’t Want Award” goes to Corey Seager, with three strike outs tonight. Enjoy your golden sombrero! Better luck tomorrow. 

Home Run: Yasiel Puig

It’s an afternoon game tomorrow, and yours truly will be there!

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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83 thoughts on “Dodgers Let Varsity Play. Naturally, They Win

  1. Well, today we get Jared Weaver, so the varsity will be back on the field. This is what fangraphs has to say a about Jared:

    Weaver’s done being a useful pitcher, except for maybe in his future softball league. The 34-year-old was throwing 83 mph last year. High school prospects throwing 83 mph are slotted in for mediocre D2 or JUCO teams. Yet somehow he threw batting practice for 178 innings in 2016. I don’t know how the Padres can justify giving him a shot. He’s so bad right now that any setup man with a decent strikeout rate will be a significant upgrade over Weaver in fantasy. (Jeff Zimmerman)

    The Quick Opinion: The Padres are going to use Weaver to eat up mediocre innings, but you should not.

    Batting practice this afternoon. We will begin playing Major League teams tomorrow. Stand by as we get Kyle Freeland in Denver. He is their #5, which is a good thing. He’s a left hander so we might make him look like a #1.

    1. Badger

      It looks like Puig is enjoying hitting eighth, it looked like he set the pitcher up, on the pitch he hit for the HR.

      1. He looked fooled to me. He was out over his front foot with his top hand off the bat quickly. He did however get all of it. With his strength, when he squares it up, it will go a long way. Did you see him chase the low and away breaking ball again? It remains his weakness. If he can remedy that, he will be a force in this league. Lay off that pitch and he will be hitting ahead in the count far more often. It would change everything. I’m sure Turner Ward is working on that.

        1. Badger

          Anytime Puig is not getting many hits, he reverts back, to pulling the ball, to try to get a hit, inbetween the third baseman, and the shorstop.

          I thought in his HR at bat, he was patient, and because of that, he had a good count.

          I just thought his eyes let up, when he saw that one pitch, and he hit it pretty far.

          1. When the pitcher makes a boo boo you had better be ready to take advantage and he did. It’s way too early to worry about his bat yet. I have seen only a couple of AB’s where he reverted to his old style. Joc did it a couple of times last night. But I liked his trying to bunt to beat the shift. I was a left handed hitter, and I could hit to left pretty much anytime I wanted. I just shifted my back foot a couple of inches and let the pitch travel a little more. Worked most of the time.

        2. He was out in front of that pitch. Impressive that he can hit it that far being somewhat off balanced.

    2. speaking of Weaver’s, I forgot who is related. Aren’t Jared and former Dodger, Jeff, brother?

      Cardinals have a really good prospect/rookie by the name of Luke Weaver. Pretty sure there’s no relation there.

  2. Great wrap. Gave me a good feel for the game.

    Giants and DBacks have both been peppering the ball in Arizona. Next to Coors Field, I’m pretty sure it’s the next best hitting environment in the league. Brandon Belt made a costly error that allowed the flood gates to open. DBacks will be tough at home, it’s deep lineup with pop up and down. Things got dicey for the ARZ bullpen in the 8th, Fernando Rodney and his crooked cap slammed the door in the 9th. He’s 40+, and still hitting 96 on the gun. The changeup is still really good. His command not the best, but he had enough of it last nite.

    Jeff Samardzija has his work cut out for him tonight.

    1. Rye

      In that first game Rodney didn’t do a thing, and I was thinking, it is about time, he put his hat on correctly.

      And I am not one of those people, that want the players, to confirm to the times of old.

          1. His dad was a field worker and often he would move the bill of his cap from east to west to shade his face. Fernando tilts his cap as a gesture of respect for his father. As far as I know, he shoots the arrow because the fans like it. I’ve seen a few interviews and from what I see he appears to be a humble, thoughtful man.

          2. A side benefit to having the hat on at an angle is that it may fool the base runner as to where his attention is focused. I don’t see any negative to it.

      1. Kill individuality? I saw a guy in the Tampa-Yankees game with blonde dregs coming out of the back of his helmet and I was wondering ala Oscar Gamble, how in the world does he keep that helmet on? The only team in the bigs right now with a grooming code is the Marlins. I am old school too because no one on my old baseball cards has a beard. Not until George Foster was with the Reds, He had a skin condition that would not let him shave…….then it started…….

          1. Well that’s ok, but it is one of the reasons Collmenter left. He had to shave his beard…Yankees still have grooming standards though. Not that stringent, but they are there.

          2. I know they had them last year. I did not know they had changed the big deal so don’t make a major issue of it, what I wrote was tongue in cheek and you took it way to seriously.

        1. Badger

          Thanks I never knew that, I have just heard different announcers, say something, about his hat.

          And you know me, I am really not one of those people, that let those type of things bother me.

          And I was probably only feeling that way, because he let the Giants go ahead, in that first game.

          But of course, after hearing that, I feel much differently.

          It looks like the Giants made a bad signing, with Span.

          It seems like he has these little injuries, here and there, and he can’t stay on the field, all the time.

          I thought it wasn’t a good move by the Giants, to sign a older player, to play center, like they did.

          I guess they are having trouble with there left fielder, hitting major league pitching.

          And I hear some Giant fans, are wanting Pagan back.

          I guess the leader of China, is going to be at Margo lago today.

          That will be interesting, and to much fun.

          1. I like Span – but many Giants fans can’t stand him, see him as a bum. And yes, he was looking healthy and now his hip seems to be acting up.

            Giants may as well sign Pagan, but he may have burnt bridge.

            You guys like to talk politics. I can’t stand Trump. Think this is all pretty much a disaster and the prognosis isn’t very good. That’s my piece.

      1. Oh wow,
        The great one, the expert in unsustainable freebies has gotten political, Barf

    1. Rye,
      Stay out of politics.
      It’s just a case of unsustainable freeloading verses free market (Dem. Versus Rep.) Somehow people fantasize that perpetual motion is obtainable. Not true. Impossible. To keep something in motion it needs to be fed by external forces(in this case money). Do you think that MJ wonders were that money comes from? Hell no, someone made it and she wants to spend it. She is so entitled that she doesn’t even consider where it comes from. It’s my back. Not her freeloading ass’s. That’s why she has time to muddy up both websites all day long. Barf.

  3. A couple of things, First, Grandal did not throw Myers out, Rich Hill picked him off. Grandal couldn’t throw out my grand mother. 2nd, Our starter goes 5 innings and he is your 2nd ace? Please. It’s a here we go again moment. The team won in spite of Hill. They were lucky because the BP picked him up, and in spite of a scoreless inning, they were hitting ROCKETS off Romo. He was very lucky the air was heavy. A couple of those shots could take your head off. Toles is no lead off man. Period. Another game another HIDP for Yasmani Grandal. That’s two in 3 games. He keeps that pace up and it is a major league record for sure. Jansen and Wood looked pretty good. Heavy air cost Gonzo a dinger. What I did like was Corey and Gonzo beating the shift with those hits to left field. That was encouraging. Seat belt time tonight as McCarthy is out there. We will know early if he is on his game or not. Dodgers released former 1st rounder Chris Anderson.

    1. Michael

      You know I didn’t want Toles to lead off, because that wasn’t his game, and he is still learning how to hit major league pitching.

      But Toles has lead off in two games, now.

      In his first game, he had two hits, and one of his hits, was because he adjusted and hit where the shift wasn’t.

      And yesterday he got a walk, in his third at bat.

      I actually thought he was making progress.

      How many major leaguers, adjust like Toles did in his first game?

      I still rather he didn’t lead off, but he hasn’t been bad, and we are talking about two games.

      And about Hill, Roberts took him out earlier, because he got hit by a pitch, in his right hand, it isn’t going to be a habit.

      And about Agone, I hope all of these young players, are taking notes, when it comes to Agone, with the way, he hits in runs.

      1. I don’t think that’s right about Hill.

        His exit was more about innings than his hand. The team wants to gradually increase his workload coming out of Spring Training.

        They know multitudes more than I do, so I’ll go with it.

        I just love watching Hill. He throws 2 pitches! That’s it. And just rocks doing so. And that fastball recoil is epic. He’s a joy.

        Two other updates on recent topics of note:

        1. Gonzo’s elbow doesn’t seem to be any problem, not that anyone really anticipated it being so.

        2. Urías to pitch three or four innings on the 10th of the month for OKC, according to Dave Roberts. Can’t say the team isn’t being deliberate with him.

        Finally, Vice has a nice tongue-in-cheek article about the Dodgers 2nd string of starters vs. the Padres top 5.

      2. What Michael said. And I will add this, Hill’s move was, like Urias’s move, borderline. Rule says you must step directly to first. I’ve watched the video several times. That move was about 45 degrees. His foot came forward. But, it ain’t a balk if they don’t call it. That move saved his ERA from starting at 3.6 instead of 1.8.

      3. MJ, when Toles got his hits, he was not leading off. It was later in the game. Leadoff hitters set the table, he swings at way too many first pitches, and is not a patient hitter. Neither is Corey. I prefer contact guys with patience in the leadoff role. Toles is a decent player and learning on the fly. He has yet to lead the game off in the first inning and get on base. Maybe he gets better, maybe he does not, but like I said, I prefer more of a patient guy like Forsythe in that role and he proved in spring that he is pretty good at it.

        1. Michael

          I agree with you about that.

          It is harder to hit at the top of the order, and that is why I don’t think Joc should lead off either.

          1. And lead off hitters, don’t always lead off, except for there first at bat.

            And I would hope a veteran that is thirty years old, and has hit in the lead off position, for two years, would have an edge, on a new young player.

      4. I don’t think that’s right about Hill.

        His exit was more about innings than his hand. The team wants to gradually increase his workload coming out of Spring Training.

        They know multitudes more than I do, so I’ll go with it.

        I just love watching Hill. He throws 2 pitches! That’s it. And just rocks doing so. And that fastball recoil is epic. He’s a joy.

        Two other updates on recent topics of note:

        1. Gonzo’s elbow doesn’t seem to be any problem, not that anyone really anticipated it being so.

        2. Urías to pitch three or four innings on the 10th of the month for OKC, according to Dave Roberts. Can’t say the team isn’t being deliberate with him.

        Finally, Vice has a nice tongue-in-cheek article about the Dodgers 2nd string of starters vs. the Padres top 5.

        1. Good read. But I don’t take Kazmir over anyone, even those guys whose name I never saw before. Harley Hiffcapippy for Kazmir? Done.

        1. Did you see that Hill had never been hit in college or in pro ball, until last night?

          It looked like it really hurt, when he was first hit.

          1. Where did you read that he pulled him because he was hit in his non pitching hand>? He had made 75 pitches, and he was not as sharp as is made out to be. He, like Romo was lucky because a few of those outs were belted. It was a successful outing, but not what I would even equate to ACE like as Oscar said. Team bailed him out.

          1. Michael

            I heard that on the post game show.

            He also went in and got an X-ray on his hand

      1. Grandal to me is the great rally killer. Last year and the year before I saw more rally’s killed by him hitting into a DP. I said in an earlier post that it would be more of the same this year. He is what he is, a power hitting catcher with limited defensive skills and an average bat. His lifetime BA is about a point above AJ Ellis, who was far superior defensively. Also I have noticed our pitchers having a lot of trouble getting on the same page with Grandal on his pitch selection. Hill shook him off repeatedly last night.

  4. We will soon see if we have a problem with leftie pitching.

    I believe we will facing a young Rockie leftie pitcher, and the Cubs adjusted there rotation, and we will be facing Lester on Monday.

    1. Good catch MJ.

      On switching Arrieta and Lester in the rotation…..

      “The off-days always help,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Milwaukee is predominantly right-handed, and the Dodgers are predominantly left-handed. It was just right in front of us, so we decided to do it.”

      Lester will be pitching on seven days’ rest when he faces the Dodgers.

      1. Chili

        That is going to be a tough turnover for the Dodgers.

        I believe they play an early game on Sunday, and play at 5 something, on Monday, in Chicago, when they face Lester.

  5. Puig apparently likes hitting in the 7th spot as well. Uh, I don’t think Weaver is going to be tricking the boys much longer today. Damn, I would like to hit off of Jered.

    I smell a narcissistic troll in our midst, that stank just lingers. Yeah, I’m talking about you Catcher.

    1. Fine. 6 innings 2 earned. Yeah, it’s against the Padres, but he got 6 innings completed. He may not do that often.

      We do occasionally talk politics Rye, but I don’t think we like doing it. Our political system is dysfunctional. Has been for years. Of the people doesn’t work unless all the people are engaged. When half don’t, it leaves the rest of us agitated. For what it’s worth, I agree with your take.

      1. Well, let’s get in at least a few more seasons before the curtain gets closed.

        So Dodgers head to Colorado and the Giants to San Diego. It’s a good week for LA and SF to get batting averages up.

  6. Wow, that TV booth really needs a shake up. That is one of the more bland duos that I have had to endure. Leave Orel but get someone with a personality next to him. Joe Davis has the pizzazz of a wet washcloth.

    1. I totally agree. Joe Davis is about as exciting as watching a casket warp. His banter is pure droning. His inane baiting of Orel about HR’s hit off of him was pretty juvenile.

    1. The Padres are terrible. Like that’s a scoop.

      We got more runs than hits. 11 bb’s? That is one bad staff.

      Colorado will be more of a challenge. We do it to them on their field it will be worth crowing about.

      Hatcher still putting balls right over the heart of the plate. Hit some edges dude.

  7. Did anyone sneak a peek at the OKC starting lineup for today??? Sweet balls of fire!!! Pass out the Tums chewables…
    I better go check my Rancho l/u…

    1. Taylor SS
      Bellinger 1B
      Thompson, RF
      Segedin, 3B
      Verdugo, CF
      Dickson, LF
      Calhoun, 2B
      Wilson, C
      Oaks, P

      Not bad. I say they will win.

      1. That is a fine lineup!

        Hopefully they win a lot and bring a win first attitude to the entire 40 man roster.

  8. Also, I want to point out a couple of things I like so far from Roberts (after bashing him for starting Kike and the JV squad earlier).

    First, there is more purposeful running, culminating in the double steal. More of this please, if only to put the other managers on alert and make them do more defensive subs in later innings.

    Second, using Hatcher in blowouts, instead of burning our better relievers. Maybe Hatcher will find his way this way, who knows, but I think Roberts and Honeycutt really has a nice feel for using the bullpen.

    1. YF

      I agree about Roberts, and Honeycutt.

      They actually had much better numbers running the bases last year, as compared to before.

      I thought Roberts made really good adjustments with the pitchers in the pen, last year.

      Remember when Hatcher and Baez, were not able to do there jobs, at the begining of the season last year?

      And Roberts made the move to have Blanton set up instead, because of there ineffectiveness.

  9. In other news, longtime Dodger fan Don Rickles passed away today. I have a hilarious video of him being a Dodger coach. Matt Kemp is hitting .462 with 2 homers and 6 ribbies after 3 games, he has 6 hits, all for extra bases…way to go Bison.

          1. He was robbed for sure, and they should have stripped Braun of his MVP. Kemp said he did not want to win it that way. But he should have won.

          2. He was robbed. They should have stripped Braun of that award. Kemp said he did not want to win it that way. But he should have won it hands down.

        1. I remember Kemp in his last year in a Dodger uniform being the hottest hitter on the team in September. 2014, His injuries pretty much over, he got hot and was hitting the ball as hard as I have ever seen him hit. HR’s RBI,s pretty much ignited that division winning run. Guy was an animal. I would take that marginal defense of his just to have that bat. And he had a TERRIBLE spring this year. Wait until he gets to his new ball park in the ATL. It is going to be a homer haven like Fulton County was. 2012 was the year he got hurt, and he was hitting close to .350 when he crashed into the wall at Coors and already had 20 dingers. Only hit 3 the rest of the year because he came back too soon and was not ready. He finished with a .303 BA. And he KILLS lefty’s.

          1. Gotta love MJ and Baaaaàdgers take on freeloaders freeloading politics…..Barf
            I make it, the freeloaders spend it
            Great life for them. Spineless wimps. Dem BS. Let’s talk politics!!!!

  10. Hey Melton, Is this the one that made you want to barf?

    Badger: “We do occasionally talk politics Rye, but I don’t think we like doing it. Our political system is dysfunctional. Has been for years. Of the people doesn’t work unless all the people are engaged. When half don’t, it leaves the rest of us agitated. For what it’s worth, I agree with your take.”

    BAAAAAAAAger not only likes to talk politics, he treats the subject like a piece of CUD!!

    Sheep belong to the ruminant classification of animals. Ruminants are characterized by their four-chambered stomach and “cud-chewing” behavior. Cud is a food bolus that is regurgitated, rechewed, and reswallowed.

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