Monday, March 31, 2014

The Beard WAS weird on Opening Night

Anytime the Dodgers get a lead after seven innings, you have to think the game is over.

Well, the game was over... because Brian Wilson was burned for three runs, and the Padres won 3-1.

I know it was only the third game of the season (so don't confuse the Opening Series with Opening Night or with Opening Day.  This was Opening Night.  Got it?) but it was still pretty shocking to see Wilson give up a towering pinch-hit home run to Seth Smith to tie the game at one.

Unfortunately, the Padres weren't done from there, as Wilson walked Yasmani Grendal, committed an error on Everth Cabrera's bunt, watched both men advance a base on a steal and defensive indifference, and gave up the game-winning two-run single to Chris Denorfia.

For good measure, even the sure handed Adrian Gonzalez botched a grounder from Chase Headley, and Wilson's night was over.  Not even three straight strikeouts from Chris Perez and Paco Rodriguez could make up for this inning from hell: two hits, two errors, and three runs.

And the Dodgers' first loss of the season.

The blown save, or more specifically a blown hold, by Wilson spoiled the great start from Hyun-Jin Ryu.  The Padres made him work the first couple of innings with three hits and two walks, but a bases loaded double play by Yonder Alonso ended the first, and Cabrera struck out with two runners in scoring position to end the second.

From there it was 16 straight set down by Ryu, who was completely locked in.  The last batter he allowed to reach was Tommy Medica on a walk in the seventh, but another DP erased him.  The final tally was seven innings, three hits, no runs, three walks, and seven strikeouts.  He's scoreless through 13 innings this season.

While the focus will be on Wilson, let's not forget that the Dodgers' offense was pretty bad.  The only big hit they got all night was Carl Crawford's two-out single to score Dee Gordon for the 1-0 lead.  Hanely Ramirez grounded out with the bases loaded, and the Dodgers really blew a chance to take control.

Sure enough, four hits and three walks total came back to haunt them at the end.

I'm not concerned about Wilson, because he's just too talented to let one bad appearance derail him.  He simply could not locate a thing, as he was missing way off of both corners.  He spun a fat curveball right down the zone, and to Smith's credit, he lived up to his reputation as a great pinch-hitter with a crushing blow.  That's the way it goes in a close game like this.

In addition to Ryu, I'll take another positive out of this in Perez and Rodriguez, who struck out the side to end the eighth, stranding a couple.  It at least gave the offense a chance in the ninth, though they went down in order.  It does show the depth of the bullpen, as suppose Wilson does go through a rough patch, there are other options for the eighth at least.

Monday is an off day, as this might be the weirdest opening to a season the Dodgers have ever had.  They sit at 2-1 before nearly every other team has played a game yet.  Tuesday they're back in action with Zack Greinke on the mound.

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