October 22, 2014

Rihanna Roots on Dodgers as LA Rolls Past AZ

Ah, the home opener of baseball season…there’s nothing sweeeter than when Vin Scully utters those wonderful words, “It’s time for Dodger baseball!” 

And the Dodgers powered through the game, knocking in four home runs, more than doubling their total from the first six games of the season.  Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier all contributed bombs.  It wasn’t perfect as the bullpen once again struggled to maintain the lead they were given by starter Clayton Kershaw, but everything ended well. as the Dodgers survived with an 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rather than recapping the game as many other fine Dodger bloggers have already done today, we wanted to share some of today’s great moments, as captured by Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo. Enjoy!

Rihanna shows her support for Matt Kemp after he homers against the Diamondbacks

Kemp and Ethier proudly show off their Silver Slugger awards

Manager Joe Torre talks on the phone prior to the game

Matt Kemp and his Gold Glove award following the game

Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and members of the media check out his locker

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