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:
|V. Padilla (L, 0-1)||4.1||6||7||7||3||2||2||2.08||14.54|
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