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Dodgers Dominate in Tampa Bay (J.P. Howell not so much)

The first game of the all-astroturf roadtrip brought an interleague match against the no bullpenned, dome-stadiumed Rays.

It also brought plenty of ex-Jays back to Tampa, Enrique Hernandez as the DH, Joc Pederson getting his first start of the season against a southpaw, and Scott Kazmir on the mound. It was bound to have a story or two to tell – and boy, howdy – it did!

1st inning
Rays scored 1-0

2nd inning  Rays 1-0
Howie Kendrick smacked a base hit.
Then Trayce Thompson followed up with a monster home run to left center.

Thompson’s home run hit the dome catwalk 400 feet above the spectators, and stayed there. Only six home runs have been hit that high up to the catwalk; three at the lower D-ring level, and three above at C-level. Welcome to C-ring level, Trayce Thompson.
Then Joc Pederson stepped up.
BOOM! Another big shot. This time to center field. It’s 404 feet to CF at Tropicana Stadium.  Joc’s ball hit pretty high up off that wall, so LADR’s Home Run Tracker estimated that homer at 440 feet.

3rd inning  Dodgers 3-1

Adrian Gonzalez hit a single over second base to break a string of 21 at bats without a hit.
Scott Kazmir at 5 Ks and 50 pitches.

Embed from Getty Images

4th inning  Dodgers 3-1

Kazmir gave up a two-run homer – with how many outs? OF COURSE!!! Two outs. Those two-out runs have killed the Dodgers all season.

5th inning  Tie game 3-3

Kike walked to start the inning.
Yasiel Puig with a hot smash to the hot corner. It bounced off of the heel of Evan Longoria‘s throwing hand and Puig was safe at first.
A wild pitch advanced Kiké to third.
Justin Turner walked to load the bases with one out.
Howie broke out with a Dodgers double! Kiké and Puig scored standing up.

Trayce Thompson then cracked a clean single to score two more! Thompson at a career high 4 RBIs.  Dodgers up 7-3

Kazmir gave up another home run – with how many outs? Say it along with me at home, kids – WITH TWO FRIGGIN’ OUTS!!!!

7th inning Dodgers 7-4
When Kazmir was at 50 pitches after four, I would not have bet he would be headed to the mound for the 7th, but that just goes to show what some run support will do for a guy. A season high nine strike outs helps as well.
With two out Roberts went to Joe Blanton, who recorded the last out of the inning with a K.

8th inning  Dodgers 7-4
Blanton stayed in. Stayed dominant.
Corey Seager and Carl Crawford on first and second.
And then Puig happened!

A three run blast! 10-4
Gonzo continued breaking out of his slump with a base hit that beat the shift.
Howie with his fourth hit of the night!
They didn’t end up scoring but Puig had already spoken for the Dodgers.
J.P. Howell came in (just to taunt the baseball gods).
Howell got two quick outs, then walked two Rays back to back. Then he gave up a single to load the bases.
He then hit Evan Longoria to bring in a run.  Now 10-5
Note to the skipper – Don’t taunt the baseball gods.
Bum out – Kenley Jansen in.
Out, done, Rays speared. Dodgers Win!

It was a night with Adrian Gonzalez breaking his slump, Howie Kendrick knocking in his first RBI of the season, Yasiel, Thompson and Pederson blasting home runs, and Kazmir striking out nine.

As the venerable Vin Scully would say, “Not a bad opening act.”

Scott Kazmir (2-2) with 6 2/3 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 9 Ks, 2 HR  ERA 5.68

Home runs: Thompson, Pederson, Puig

Doubles: Turner, Kendrick

Broke outta slumps: Gonzalez, Kendrick

RISP: 3 for 8  Improving!

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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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.

36 thoughts on “Dodgers Dominate in Tampa Bay (J.P. Howell not so much)

  1. Maybe they should put a roof on Dodger Stadium. Okay, that would be sacrilege. Good to see a lot of guys start to break out of slumps though.

  2. lol a roof on Dodger Stadium, an indoor Hollywood Bowl, a sadly long ago burned down Ashgrove Nightclub and Skid Row all within walking distance.

    1. Well skid-row it’d be better to take a bus, Take note, DO NOT EXIT BUS! danger of heart bleeds!

    1. Do OKC hitters count? Barnes is hitting .324 with 4 stolen bases. For the record he’s 26. Another mid 20’s prospect we traded for, Micah Johnson is hitting .233. but he has over 1600 minor league at bats and has hit .298 there so his average should go up.

  3. Kazmir should be on the DL
    Stripling should be given only one more chance
    Wood should be the precursor to along reliever every game that he starts
    Hatcher should be the 5h inning reliever
    Howell should be DFA’d
    Avilan should be put out with the horses

      1. Give the young hitters more at bats. These guys are the future. A few of them are in their mid twenties already. It was said by somebody on a broadcast yesterday, this is a young man’s game. That has never been more true than now, with PEDs being removed from the game. It would appear that 30 is the new 36.

        All this talk about Kendrick being such a great stick, that he hasn’t hit below – whatever since – whenever – it should be noted that Kiké hit .307 last year, Granted, fewer at bats, RH splits etc., well he had to have hit RH pitching pretty well somewhere along the way or he would never had made it to the Major Leagues. I’ll say it agin, you didn’t trade for the missing piece at the deadline last year because, allegedly, it would have cost too many of our top prospects. At the same time you didn’t do that you did trade for guys like Thompson, Hernandez, Barnes, and Johnson. You bought ’em, you didn’t trade ’em, now play ’em.

        1. FAZometrics says they are not ready and when you have Utley coming off a bad year, beep….boop….bop….beep….bop…. then a noise resembling a fart comes out of the computer which says Utley to have a good year. So Utley gets signed and plays and of course Kendrick is a career .290 hitter so he is signed and plays. I wonder how many other teams have $17M tied up in the 2nd base position.

          Who needs ‘young’ players when you have these old, proven pro’s. During the MLB 2K video games they both played 150 games. Never got hurt and produced above their career averages.

  4. A player needs to have 3.1 plate appearances for every game his team has played to to be listed in the qualified category of stats and eventually to win a batting title.

    With all the platoons the Dodgers have used so far this year, only Agon, Seager, Utley, Puig, and Turner meet the qualifier status. The team leader in OPS does not.

    Kendrick and Utley will probably do more platooning at 2nd base from here on out and that will take Utley out of the qualifier category and all else being the same, that would leave only 4 players that would wind up in the qualifier category.

    1. I would like to see Joc, Cory, Trace, Agon, Puig, and maybe Grandal to be qualifiers. Turner and Kike’ platooned at 3rd and Utley and Kendrick platooned at 2nd.

      1. I still want Kike in there as often as possible. I thought a Hernandez/Utley platoon at second made sense, still do, so I want Mark to trade Howie for a player at a position of need. What position is that? I don’t know, choose. A solid relief pitcher would be ok with me.

        1. I thought that was going to be the plan before Kendrick was signed. Both Kendrick and Crawford have 2 more years of hits in their bats so I would think they could be packaged with money to get a 8th inning reliever.

          Someone will now say they are untradeable.

          1. Crawford we may be stuck with – unless he suddenly becomes offensive. Howie will be 33 in July. He was injured last year. Is he an every day player now? I think that is questionable. He makes $10 million now, and again. Who out there needs him this early in the season? Most teams that intend to compete have their depth charts already set. That could change by July 31st of course, but in early May? Unless they pull an Olivera maneuver, and swallow most of the millions on a guy they signed, I don’t see it happening. But then, by my own admission, I don’t understand the minutiae of most of what it is these guys are doing. I get the long term plan, I don’t get the day to day. All I know is they actually raised payroll and it didn’t work last year, and so far this year we are playing like the .500 club we are. Maybe all of a sudden we take off. Hope so.

      2. Bum Roberts specifically had Joc bat against that particular lefty. Because he thought that Joc would do well, against that lefty. And Nomar or Orel said, that same thing, in the game, just before Joc had his first at bat.

        And later in the game, right before Joc was going to hit against a new leftie reliever, Orel said, that the reliever that Joc was about to face, would be harder for Joc to hit, as compared to the leftie that started. And Orel used that as an example on why Roberts choose that specific leftie starter, to have Joc start hit against.

        And in Joc’s last at bat, against that leftie reliever, that Orel predicted, would be hard for Joc to hit, Joc struck out. I think that Roberts is handling Joc well, and helping Joc be more successful then last year. And remember it has only been one month.

        1. MJ, I have said several times that Roberts is easing Joc into the season and that it won’t be until mid-May before he gives Joc more at bats against lefties and moves him up in the lineup. Most of my comments are more about the Dodgers having a statistical leader, it could be Joe Smith, that only plays part time.

          If a team is going to win it will need their offensive stat leaders in the lineup most of the time. Those stat leaders need to be able to lead against both lefties and righties.

  5. Here’s some exciting news: you will soon be able to buy Dodger Dogs at SoCal AM/PM locations for $3!!!!

  6. That’s about $3 million a pound for the beef that’s in them. Nice win. The giants are winning again. It looks like the off season is turning out good for them. Too bad. I caught some of the Blue Jay game last night v Texas. Blue Jays aren’t hitting much either. Bautista is scratching his head. Still though, a tough lineup for us next. Let’s win today.

  7. Kyle Farmer is out of the lineup for Tulsa. For a few days now. Without him, they can’t score. Does anyone know what’s going on with him? Hurt?

  8. “If you’re smart, you’ll never get caught. The research shows that if you go home from the ballpark, and take a fast-acting testosterone, it will peak at 1 in the morning, get down before the 4-to-1 TE ratio by 4 in the morning, and by the time you get to the ballpark, you can’t test positive. That’s what (Alex Rodriguez) and all of those guys in Biogenesis were doing.

    So to get caught now, you’ve got to be pretty dumb. And to use Turinabol, that’s dumber than dumb. Nobody with any brains are using Turinabol. That’s just stupidity.” Victor Conte. And he oughta know.

    Evidently more suspensions are on their way.

    1. Bobby that is good news, because they have only let him pitch five innings, a game I believe. He is going to have to pitch more innings, to pitch in the bigs.

  9. I have been pretty negative about Puig lately, but I think he may start hitting better. Roberts was working with Puig, with his mechanics, and his swing, before the game last night.

    And something, that Roberts helped Puig with, seemed to be the key, to Puig hitting that HR last night. And I think Puig has been working with Ward too. Puig practically gave Ward a kiss, on the back of his head last night, after he hit his HR.

    1. He will hit if he becomes disciplined. He hits the ball too hard not to. 7 out of 10 line drives are hits. 9 of 10 pop ups are outs and 10 of 10 strike outs are outs. Get the pitch you can drive and point it to the gaps at about 100 mph. From what I’ve seen Puig goes after borderline strikes early in the count. With no strikes, or even with 1 strike, don’t go after it just because it might be the pitch you were looking for, make it be in the location you want too. Puig can hammer pitches when he guesses right. But I think you will notice he likes them in certain spots. My spot was the same as Ted Williams’ spot – thigh high middle in. Most big hitters like to get their arms extended, and with a 34″ bat that’s a pitch middle out. I saw Puig in batting practice go over the fence left, center then right, then right, center and left. No doubters all. He had Ethier and Crawford both shaking their heads and laughing. He made it look easy.

        1. Bum you have already pushed it with your Lincicum reference. And Yes, the Dodgers were at his work out!

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