Joc Pederson is back! But Cory Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Casey Fien and Hyun-Jin Ryu are now out. The universe is a cruel and cold place. Here’s how tonight’s opening game between Scott Kazmir and rookie pitcher Reynaldo Lopez went.
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Just after the start of the game, I jumped in my car, hoping for a quick dash home. I turned the ballgame on the radio and it was the bottom of the first. The Dodgers were already up 3-0! Chase Utley led off the game with a home run.
Joc Pederson, fresh off the disabled list, then knocked in two runs with a single.
2nd inning Dodgers 3-0
After a quick stop at the supermarket, I jumped back in my car, and turned on the radio just in time to hear the bottom of the second inning. The Dodgers were up 4-0 (on an Utley RBI single), and I hadn’t seen a run score yet.
Like I said, the universe is a cold, cold place.
3rd inning Dodgers 4-0
In the meantime, Scott Kazmir had been effectively shutting down the Nationals.
4th inning Dodgers 4-0
I finally got home to catch (naturally) the bottom of the fourth. I hadn’t seen any Dodger offense up to that point, but I did tune in to the game just in time to catch the Dodgers’ defensive unit’s circus act. Chase Utley and Chris Taylor collided in short center field when Utley, while catching a pop fly, crashed into Taylor, and sent him tumbling on the ground.
On the next batter, Taylor got a shot at another pop fly. This time the ball was right over the pitchers mound. Taylor stumble/ran up the mound, and leaped straight into the air to make the catch.
After swinging for the fences and missing both times, Yasiel Puig came up with an RBI single of his own. That drove the Nationals’ rookie pitcher, Reynaldo Lopez, from the game. 6-0
Kazmir picked up his sixth strikeout, but he also grooved a fastball over the middle, and gave up a solo homerun. 6-1
6th inning Dodgers 6-1
There was some trepidation about Kazmir after he landed awkwardly on his leg in the previous inning. He got out of the inning, but the TV broadcast team felt Kazmir showed discomfort doing so, and his night was done. So there was some surprise when Kazmir came out to the mound for the seventh.
He successfully completed the inning, but his landing mechanics appeared tweaked. Manager Roberts and pitching coach Honeycutt watched Kazmir intensely from the dugout. Job done.
7th inning. Dodgers 6-1
Kazmir notched his eighth strikeout of the day, and kept the Nationals scoreless.
8th inning Dodgers 6-1
Chase Utley knocked in his third RBI the night, with a single. 7-1
Chris Hatcher came in and quickly set fire to everything the Dodgers had built. He faced three batters and gave up two runs. 7-3
Adam Liberatore in. By the time this mess of an inning had run its course, it was 7-4, and the Nationals were within three runs.
9th inning Dodgers 7-3
Yasmani Grandal came up with a home run to make it 8-4.
Kenley Jansen in. Job done.
Dodgers win! 8-4
Kazmir was on tonight. His fastball was working very well. He was hitting his spots and bringing it at speeds hovering around 93 mph. He was efficient and effective, racking up eight strikeouts on just 88 pitches.
Bonus: It was the first time Kazmir completed seven innings since May.
The Dodgers bats started strong against the rookie, Lopez, scoring thee runs before the seats were warm.
They also remained consistent, picking up hits, and scoring runs through multiple innings, including RBIs from Yasiel Puig, and another home run from Yasmani Grandal.
The one sour note of the night: Chris Hatcher absolutely tanked it tonight. He only faced three batters, and was credited with all three runs scored against. The skipper knows Hatcher cannot be trusted in tight games, and tonight Hatcher showed he shouldn’t be used in blowouts – at least not in the ones the Dodgers are winning.
Scott Kazmir (W 8-3) went a strong seven with 4 hits, 1 run, 1 HR, 0 walks, 8 K’s. ERA 4.30
Home runs: Grandal, Utley
Doubles: Turner, Taylor
Team with RISP: 5 for 14 Lots of opportunities tonight. I would have loved 8 or 9 for 14, but they got the job done well enough tonight. It was a good win.