July 28, 2014

Dodgers Lose Opener to Bucs; Sky Doesn’t Fall

It’s always a bummer when the Dodgers get slapped around by the hapless Pirates on Opening Day,  but remember, it’s only one game, right?  A few things really jumped out at me as I watched the Dodgers get beaten down by the Pirates by a score of 11-5 today:

First off, if the Dodgers score five runs in the majority of their games they’re going to be fine.  And it should have been more: the Dodgers were two for 13 with runners in scoring position, and left six runners on base when hitting with two outs (and 10 total).  The Pirates scored seven runs with two outs compared to the Dodgers two runs.  Yech.  The Pirates hit in the clutch and the Dodgers simply did not.  This is something that definitely needs to improve, and will.  The Dodgers have a superb hitting lineup, and Mattingly needs to get the entire team dialed in.

Now let’s look at the pitching:

  IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA 
V. Padilla (L, 0-1) 4.1 6 7 7 3 2 2 2.08 14.54  
R. Ortiz 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00  
C. Monasterios 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00  
G. Sherrill 0.2 2 3 3 1 0 1 4.50 40.50  
J. Weaver 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00

 

Padilla appeared to lack confidence and control, and consequently was lit up.  Russ Ortiz managed to hold it together in his debut (a nice surprise), as did the rookie, Carlos Montasterios, who is more than 12 years younger than Ortiz.  Sherrill, on the other hand, continues his spring struggles (I believe the three-run homer he gave up was clocked at 75 mph).  But before anyone calls for him to be banished from taking the mound for LA, remember that this is the same George Sherrill that had a 0.65 ERA for the Dodgers in 2009 and was a key player in the Dodgers making it to the post-season.  Plus, anyone who rocks the flat-brim cap in 2010 is ok by me.  He’s one that Dodger fans need to keep a close eye on.

Finally, when the bullpen gets back to full strength like it was last season, the Dodgers will be a vastly improved team.  Remember Hong-Chih Kuo is currently on the disabled list but expected back soon, Corey Wade is also on the disabled list for three months as he recovers from surgery, Ramon Troncoso is away for the birth of his daughter yesterday (he returns on Wednesday) and Ronald Belisario is still back at Camelback Ranch getting ready for the season.

Don’t worry Dodger fans, today’s game was a rough loss to a mediocre Pirates team, but the sky is not falling (yet).

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010

And the Opening Day Starter for the Dodgers is…Vicente Padilla?

 

By all accounts this is a puzzling choice, but it’s really not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Let’s look at the numbers: Padilla was 4-0 down the stretch last year and the club’s most consistent starter when they needed one.  He’s also been solid in Spring Training.  Does this qualify him to be the Opening Day starter when he’s also the team’s #4 starter when lining them up one through five?  That’s a tough one to argue if you take this stuff seriously (which I do not), but I think it’s safe to say that Padilla will pitch well when he gets the ball on April 5 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Jon Weisman argues that Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda would be more logical choices due to the magnitude of what they’ve contributed to the club and even for sentimental reasons.

That said, I think it’s clear that how Joe Torre selects his Opening Day starter is different than how most of us would.  Per Ken Gurnick:

 “We just had to pick somebody and he was the one,” Torre said. “Am I saying he’s better than the other guys? I’m not saying that. We decided to line them up that way. The fact [is] that we don’t have a No. 1, we have four guys who have pitched important games for us.”

Here are a few more quotes from Torre per Josh Rawitch:

Joe Torre’s reasoning: “We just decided to line them up that way.”

That means the second game will be Kershaw in Pittsburgh, then Billingsley and then Kuroda.

More from Joe: “We have 4 guys you could put their names in a hat. I had no problem with Clayton starting the Home Opener.”

Torre doesn’t seem to think the whole Opening Day starter thing is that big a deal, but I’m going to assume the real reason has something to do with the way the pitchers line up before the home opener at Dodger Stadium.

Personally, I think the whole “who starts Opening Day” thing is something that the fans (and maybe the players) care about more than management does.  I’m fine with Padilla having the honor – he’s been a solid pitcher for the Dodgers and he does have a great comeback story after being released by the Texas Rangers in the middle of last season. 

Now let’s get to Opening Day, already!

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010

Dodgers Single Game Tickets Go On Sale March 6th

The Dodgers have just announced that single game tickets will go on sale on Saturday, March 6th, beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Parking and concession prices are expected to remain the same with 65% of ticket prices staying the same or being less expensive than 2009 prices.  The Dodgers are also giving fans two free tickets to the April 1st exhibition home game against the Cleveland Indians if you buy your tickets at Dodger Stadium on March 6th (added bonus: no service charges for buying your tickets at Chavez Ravine).

From the official press release:

Fans can purchase tickets online at dodgers.com, via telephone at 866-DODGERS, in person at Dodger Stadium in Lot P or at all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets.

Fans who wish to purchase tickets in person at Dodger Stadium can enter via the Sunset Gate as early as 8 a.m. and will receive numbered wristbands until a starting number is randomly selected at 8:45 a.m. There is no advantage to arriving before 8 a.m.

The person with the selected number will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets at 10:00 a.m. and the remainder of the group will be served in numerical sequence. Fans arriving after 8:45 a.m. will receive a different color wristband, and that group will be helped after the first. There is a limit of four Opening Day tickets available for purchase per person while supplies last.

All fans purchasing at least one ticket at Dodger Stadium on March 6 will receive two free tickets to the Dodgers’ exhibition home opener against the Cleveland Indians on April 1.  Dodger legends Ron Cey and “Sweet” Lou Johnson will be on hand from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. to take photographs and sign autographs for fans.

Farmer John Dodger Dogs will be available for just $2 and Dodger merchandise kiosks will be open. Individual tickets purchased at Dodger Stadium will not incur any service charges.

In addition to holding season ticket prices the same for the third consecutive season, more than 65 percent of the single-game tickets on Sunday through Thursday at Dodger Stadium in 2010 will remain the same price or be lower than 2009. There was no price increase on any ticket at Dodger Stadium following the 2008 season when the Dodgers reached their first National League Championship Series in 20 years.

As has become increasingly common throughout sports and entertainment, the Dodgers will introduce a variable pricing component in which tickets on Friday and Saturday will be between $2 and $3 more than those games played Sunday through Thursday.

The All-You-Can-Eat Right Field Pavilion will see a price decrease of $5 per ticket when purchased in advance, while rows X-Z on the field level between the bases will drop $20 per seat.

For the fourth consecutive season, parking prices at Dodger Stadium will remain the same at $15 and no increases in concessions prices are expected in 2010.

Tickets to the highly-anticipated matchup against the World Champion New York Yankees can only be purchased as part of a 14-, 21-, or 28-game mini plan and will not be sold on an individual game basis. Fans who purchase any mini plan at Dodger Stadium on March 6 will also receive a Dodger gift.

Season ticket options are still available and remain among the best values in Los Angeles and all of sports, with tickets starting as low as $4 per seat.

For a complete list of ticket options and pricing, visit dodgers.com/tickets.