DLD Rewind: Historics Lead the Dodgers to an Opening Series Win

Game One

Dodger baseball returned with a bang on Opening Day. Nothing seemed to go wrong for almost everyone on the team, defeating the Diamondbacks while setting a record that may never again be matched.

Offense

Opening Day 2019 at Dodger Stadium will forever go down in history as one of the greatest offensive displays ever in a baseball game, but the greatest ever among season openers. The Dodgers launched eight home runs against Arizona, the highest number of home runs ever hit in the history of MLB Opening Day, and more than in any game the Dodgers played in 2018.

Here’s a breakdown of which players went yard on Thursday:

  • Joc Pederson: 2 HRs (first in 2nd inn., second in 6th inn.)
  • Kiké Hernandez: 2 HRs (first in 4th inn., second in 7th inn.)
  • Corey Seager: 1 HR
  • Cody Bellinger: 1 HR
  • Austin Barnes: 1 HR
  • Max Muncy: 1 HR

Joc Pederson led off the game for the Dodgers, following a season where he set the franchise record for lead-off home runs. Although he didn’t hit any lead-off bombs in this one, he still hit a pair of big flies, leading the team in runs batted in and runs scored.

Kiké Hernandez also had a big game, swatting a pair of home runs over the outfield wall and driving in three runs. Hernandez also crossed the plate three times, leading the offense in dual fashion with Pederson.

Corey Seager hit a home run in his second scored major league at-bat since his last one that took place three hundred thirty-three days before. His first home run was the finishing blow to Arizona’s starter, Zack Greinke. Seager had four total plate appearances in the game, walking in his first.

Austin Barnes’ turn-around campaign started on a high note on Thursday, when he completed a back-to-back jacks streak with Hernandez in the fourth inning. Barnes finished the game 3 for 4 at the plate, shooting two singles to the outfield and not once striking out.

Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers’ true power hitters, lived up to their expectations on Thursday, each sending a ball into the outfield bleachers. While only Bellinger of these two did not strike out, Muncy got the Dodgers on the board in the first inning with a smart, productive out, scoring Pederson from third.

The one negative story on the offensive end was the day Justin Turner had at the plate. Going 0 for 5 at the plate and not once reaching base, Turner’s Opening Day was not ideal. However, baseball is a game of streaks, meaning Turner is likely due for a turn in his fortunes soon.

Pitching

To put it simply, Hyun-Jin Ryu was on his game against the Diamondbacks in his start on Thursday.

Ryu: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HR (Win)

Many fans had worries that Ryu wouldn’t be capable of holding the reigns of ‘numero uno’ in the Dodgers’ pitching rotation while Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill are on the IL. However, after his performance against Arizona, those worries should be almost nonexistent. Ryu shut down the Diamondbacks offense through the first two-thirds of this game, only surrendering a solo home run to Adam Jones in the sixth inning.

Although a small sample size and a no-pressure one at that, the Dodgers bullpen did not pitch poorly, but not as well as they likely could have. Yimi Garcia tossed through the seventh inning, giving up a home run to Christian Walker on his first pitch. Brock Stewart closed out the game, grabbing the final six outs. However, Stewart did give up three runs on the way to sealing the win for the Dodgers.

Here’s the final look of the statistics posted by the Dodgers’ relievers:

  • Garcia: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 H, 1 HR
  • Stewart: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 H, 0 HR

The Dodgers (1-0) defeat the Diamondbacks (0-1), 12-5.

Player of the Game: Joc Pederson (3 for 5, 2 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI)

Game Two

With a few stand-out performances, the Dodgers waged battle through the longest regular season game ever played at Dodger Stadium, losing it late and dropping to an even .500 in the standings.

Offense

While it was his second game in a Dodger uniform this season, Friday night’s matchup against the Diamondbacks seemed a lot like the debut of A.J. Pollock.

Pollock went yard for the very first time as a Dodger in second inning against his former team and teammate, Robbie Ray. Pollock single-handedly led the Dodgers out to the 3-0 lead that they held up until the seventh inning, collecting three RBIs. Pollock played all thirteen innings for the Dodgers in center field, finishing 4 for 6 with a walk.

Another bright spot on the Dodgers offensive end was the turn-around shown by Justin Turner after his 0 for 5 line on Opening Day. Turner played the full game, like Pollock, and collected his first hit of 2019 with a pair of walks to go with.

Russell Martin made his first start of the season on Friday night and did exactly what the Dodgers brought him in to do: draw walks. Martin took first base on balls three times in the game, finishing 1 for 3 otherwise with a run scored.

The Corey Seager lots of fans remember returned in the bottom of the seventh after Christian Walker hit a game-tying three-run home run, searing an RBI single to right field to reclaim the league. Seager finished 1 for 6 with a walk.

While the Dodgers offense did play well, the team’s numbers with runners in scoring position were ugly. The team went 3 for 13 with RISP, leaving seventeen runners on base. Again, it wasn’t a bad game for the team offensively, but the Dodgers missed a lot of opportunities that likely would have won them the game.

Pitching

Ross Stripling took the mound for the Dodgers in game two of the season and pitched very well, keeping Arizona scoreless during his time on the mound. Here’s how Stripling’s final line looked for Friday night:

Stripling: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

While Stripling pitched very well, the Dodgers relief pitchers did not. A number of pitchers emerged from the bullpen in this game. Here’s who all pitched in relief, in order, and how they performed:

  • Alexander: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR (Hold)
  • Baez: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR (Hold)
  • Kelly: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR (Blown Save)
  • Jansen: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
  • Ferguson: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
  • Floro: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
  • Garcia: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR (Loss)

This offseason’s biggest relief pitching acquisition for the Dodgers, Joe Kelly, struggled in his first regular season appearance on Friday night. Kelly surrendered the game-tying three-run home run in the seventh inning, tacking Pedro Baez with two earned runs after Baez left two runners on before exiting the game.

Kelly came back out for the eighth inning after closing the seventh with the Dodgers regaining the lead in the bottom half. However, Kelly again blew the Dodgers lead, loading the bases for Ketel Marte to hit into a sacrifice RBI. It was nothing short of ugly for Kelly in his Dodger debut.

Yimi Garcia was credited with the loss in this long, frustrating extra inning matchup. In the top of the thirteenth, Garcia allowed runners to reach first and second base for Arizona’s pinch-hitting catcher, Carson Kelly, to hit a double down the right field line and score Nick Ahmed from second. The Dodgers’ offense would go one-two-three in the bottom half of the inning to end the team’s first loss of 2019.

The Diamondbacks (1-1) defeat the Dodgers (1-1) in extra innings, 5-4.

Player of the Game: A.J. Pollock (4 for 6, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 BB)

Game Three

The Dodgers routed the Diamondbacks yet again in game three of this series, adding a few more runs to the total they finished with on Opening Day, but subtracting just a few home runs.

Offense

The Dodgers offense was on fire in game three against Zack Godley and the Diamondbacks, driving in eleven runs before making it embarrassing in the bottom of the eighth by posting seven more runs with the Diamondbacks’ catcher on the mound.

Cody Bellinger showed up big for the Dodgers in game three, collecting four hits and not once striking out. Two of Bellinger’s hits went over the outfield wall, helping him collect a team-leading six RBIs in the game. This performance at the plate may be one of the very best single-player showings of offense in baseball this year.

Right behind Bellinger with RBIs was Justin Turner. In the game, Turner drove in five runs, scored three times, and finished 3 for 5 with a walk at the plate. Some were worried that Turner may be experiencing a slump after his hitless Opening Day. However, with Saturday’s five-RBI game for Turner, it’s safe to say that Turner hasn’t lost his stride just yet.

Joc Pederson continued to stay hot in this series on Saturday, finishing a perfect 3 for 3 with a pair of walks at the plate against Arizona. Pederson also led the team in runs scored, crossing the plate four times.

Austin Barnes stayed hot at the plate as well, showing fans why there’s no need for worry with the loss of Yasmani Grandal. Barnes went deep in the eighth inning for two runs, completing his 2 for 4 day with a walk.

After a somewhat disappointing night of offense on Friday for the Dodgers, the team made up for it in emfatic fashion.

Pitching

Kenta Maeda took the mound for the Dodgers as Saturday’s starter against the Diamondbacks and pitched until the tank was on empty. Here’s how Maeda finished the night:

Maeda: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 3 HR (Win)

Maeda exited the game with two outs in the seventh after tossing 106 pitches to the catcher, Austin Barnes, behind the plate. While he did allow three home runs in the game, it didn’t really hurt the team in this one, with the offense scoring left and right. Maeda is the only Dodgers starter to pitch into the seventh inning this year to date, and did so with a very respectable stat line.

The Dodgers bullpen began the night of relief represented by Brock Stewart and stayed that way until the ninth inning when things got weird. With his team up 18-5 and only being three outs away from victory, Dave Roberts sent Russell Martin out from the dugout to the pitcher’s mound. That’s right; All-Star catcher, Russell Martin, took the mound to close the door on the Dodgers’ third game of the year. Here’s how Stewart and Martin finished their nights on the mound:

  • Stewart: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR
  • Martin: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Russell Martin retired the Diamondbacks in order, handing them their second loss of the year on just 10 pitches. Martin’s fastball clocked in at 83.7 MPH at its fastest. This final inning was social media gold and helped the team secure at least a split in this four-game set.

The Dodgers (2-1) defeat the Diamondbacks (1-2), 18-5.

Player of the Game: Cody Bellinger (4 for 6, 2 HR, 2 R, 6 RBI)

Game Four

The Dodgers completed their very first come-from-behind win in 2019 to seal a series win against the Diamondbacks in four games. While pitching wasn’t at it’s best, the offense stepped up and made the plays when they need to.

Offense

The Dodgers got out to a three-run lead in the first inning against Diamondbacks’ starter, Luke Weaver, courtesy of a sacrifice fly and an RBI double from the guy pictured above, Dodgers’ top prospect, Alex Verdugo.

Cody Bellinger continued his monster beginning to the season throughout this one, launching a ball into the right field seats in the third inning. The home run was his fourth in as many games and came with another pair of hits, plus crossing the plate three times on the day.

Another big day came from A.J. Pollock on Sunday, driving in two very important runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and running the bases very smartly to make sure the Dodgers could take the lead in that inning. Pollock’s day finished with a 2 for 5 line, two runs scored, and two RBIs.

The aforementioned winning run scored by A.J. Pollock was driven in just a batter after tying the game on a sacrifice fly by Max Muncy. Play third base on Justin Turner’s rest day, Muncy finished 0 for 3 with a walk and the game-winning sacrifice RBI.

Although there were a few opportunities to run away with the game that were missed, the team got it done late. As a team with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers batted a reasonable .333 to average.

Pitching

The Dodgers young star pitcher, Walker Buehler, made his first start of 2019 after only playing in one Spring Training game, and it unfortunately showed today. Here’s a look at Buehler’s final line from the mound:

Buehler: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR

Walker Buehler simply just didn’t look like himself in his first start. After a slow start during the Cactus League, it makes sense, but still doesn’t make it any less shocking to see someone of Buehler’s caliber struggle to get outs.

Out of the bullpen, the Dodgers sent six different pitchers to the mound. And also the relief corp started out rocky, they got the job done down the stretch. Here’s a breakdown of how everyone did in the game:

  • Baez: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR
  • Alexander: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
  • Garcia: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
  • Ferguson: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR
  • Floro: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HR (Win)
  • Jansen: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR (Save)

Kenley Jansen came in for the ninth inning in his first save situation of the year and did not disappoint. Jansen threw fifteen pitches, eleven for strikes, and retired the Diamondbacks in order. The save is Jansen’s first of year and was the deciding factor in the Dodgers’ third win of the year.

The Dodgers (3-1) defeat the Diamondbacks (1-3), 8-7.

Player of the Game: A.J. Pollock (2 for 5, 1 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI)

Up Next

On Monday, April 1st, the Dodgers will continue their season-opening home stand as the Giants come into town. San Francisco will play three games at Dodger Stadium before the team’s first off-day of 2019 on Thursday. Below are the game details and pitching probables at this time.

  • Game One: Giants (Pomeranz) @ Dodgers (Urias)
    • First Pitch: 7:10pm PT (10:10pm ET)
    • Watch: SportsNet LA, SNLA Espanol, NBCS Bay Area, ESPN
    • Listen: AM 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020, KNBR 680, KXZM 93.7
  • Promos: $1 Dodger Dog Night
  • Game Two: Giants (Bumgarner) @ Dodgers (Ryu)
    • First Pitch: 7:10pm PT (10:10pm ET)
    • Watch: SportsNet LA, SNLA Espanol, NBCS Bay Area, KTLA
    • Listen: AM 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020, KNBR 680, KXZM 93.7
  • Promos: Law Enforcement Appreciation Night
  • Game Three: Giants (Holland) @ Dodgers (Stripling)
    • First Pitch: 7:10pm PT (10:10pm ET)
    • Watch: SportsNet LA, SNLA Espanol, NBCS Bay Area, MLBN
    • Listen: AM 570 LA Sports, KTNQ 1020, KNBR 680, KXZM 93.7
  • Promos: Hooded Sweatshirt Giveaway

Arrick Joel has covered the Dodgers since 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @ArrickJoel, and follow @DodgersLowDown for more.