The Dodgers started the 2018 season in record-breaking fashion. That doesn’t necessarily mean it was good, though. The Dodgers are the first team in MLB history to allow only two runs in an opening four game series. Still, they only managed to split the series with their rival San Francisco Giants.
I decided I would take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the first series of the season.
The pitching was not to blame for the losses. In fact, aside from two mistake pitches from Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, the pitching was stellar. While Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill did work themselves into jams a time or two, they were able to work themselves out of them. In typical fashion, most of the Giants’ hits were bloop singles. Alex Wood only allowed one hit in eight innings of work. The bullpen has scattered five hits across a combined 11 innings of work. Very good, indeed.
Kershaw went 2-for-2 at the plate, once again showing why he is the best at everything he does.
The offense sure was slow to wake up. Farmer, Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson have yet to collect a hit. Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig‘s first hits didn’t come until the fourth inning of the fourth game. Cody Bellinger‘s didn’t come until the sixth inning of the fourth game, a home run, which was the first homer overall for the team. A lot of batters struck out looking at called third strikes down the middle of the plate. There’s much to be worked on as far as batting goes.
The ESPN crew still leaves much to be desired. Sure, it’s probably petty to complain about them, but having to endure them for two of the first four games added a bit to the misery. Not being permitted to listen to Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser, especially for Opening Day wasn’t optimal. The only highlight was Alex Rodriguez picking Puig to be a dark horse to win the NL MVP. Wouldn’t that be something?
The defense, at times, was atrocious. Forsythe committed three errors in one game at third base. He is an excellent defenseman at second—finding ways to keep him there, instead of at third, would probably be beneficial. Matt Kemp made some bobbles in left. But, these were expected, and the Dodgers are good enough to have players that can step up/in and do a better job—e.g. Farmer at third.
Kershaw and Wood deserved better, and to not take the losses in their starts. To think that the Dodgers couldn’t muster even one run on either of those games just makes you shake your head.
Of course, fans and the team would like to start the season 4-0. The way some fans were ready to abandon the season after two games could have been put into the Ugly category. And I get it. Coming off the season that was, starting 0-2 with no runs just seemed like rubbing salt into old wounds. But an 0-2 start does not a season make, nor does it break one. The Dodgers started out a bit sluggish, but will find their footing and be the team we expect them to be.