There may not be many commenters left over here, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten how to write a good old fashioned recap. It’s like riding a bike you never forget. So let me pull up my suspenders grab my Dodger cap and dust off the computer. The last official Dodger game at Chavez Ravine was game 5 of the 2019 NLDS against Washington, ironically the last time I wrote a recap. That was quite the depressing result. This time the 2020 MLB season opened with a classic, Giants/Dodgers matchup and was gearing up for a classic pitching match-up of Clayton Kershaw versus Johnny Cueto. Unfortunately that didn’t work out that way.
There was some ups and downs that preceded opening night before the Dodgers thumped the Giants with an 8-1 win. Mookie Betts penned an enormous 12-year 365 million dollar mega-deal. That was definitely a great way to start the abbreviated 60-game MLB season. Then scumbag commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners announced they would be destroying the integrity of the regular season and make winning your division meaningless by expanding the playoff field to 16 teams, essentially turning MLB into the NBA. Then we were hit with another downer, Clayton Kershaw’s back flared up again after too much weight lifting and he was scratched from his opening day start. Good news is the injury isn’t serious and he is expected back soon. The bad news is that we were not able to watch him start on opening day.
Youngster Dustin May filled in admirably for Kershaw, just a day after he was optioned off the active roster. May struck out four over 4.1 innings allowing just one earned run on seven hits. But the big story of the night was the thunderous offense and the effective bullpen. The lineup, led by Mookie Betts batting second and lead-off hitter Max Muncy (!!!), scored five runs in the seventh, and two more in the eighth to put the game away. It was Enrique Hernandez notching 4 hits (4 for 5), a two-run home run and driving in five runs while sporting a creepy mustache to lead the Dodgers bats.
The opposing starter Cueto allowed just one earned run on five hits over four frames, matching May pitch for pitch. The Dodgers still haven’t been able to figure him out. In that seventh inning, Betts reached on an infield single and Cody Bellinger doubled him to third. After a Justin Turner fielder’s choice that saw Betts score, and a Corey Seager fielder’s choice grounder back to the box that saw Bellinger out on the bases, gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Hernandez’s line drive single to right scored two runs to put the Dodgers up by a 4-1 score.
With the Dodgers ahead 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Hernandez homered over the short wall in left field with Turner aboard to break the game open. The Dodgers were 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position and tallied 12 hits. The other story came from the very effective Dodger bullpen. Caleb Ferguson, Pedro Baez, Adam Kolarek, and Brusdar Graterol tossed 4.2 scoreless frames while striking out eight and allowing just one hit without issuing any free passes. I was super impressed. May didn’t go the required five to qualify for the win, so it was given to Kolarek.
This season is bizarre with a bunch of teams making the postseason, a universal DH, cardboard fan cutouts, and empty stadiums. Despite the oddities, baseball is still the same and more specifically Dodger baseball is still the same. The Dodgers are still a very talented club, with a lot of depth all over the diamond. Beating the Giants is always a wonderful way to start the season. Some things never change.