The Dodgers Have Exorcised Some Of Last Year’s Early-Season Demons

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Save your angst about the season for at least one more day, Dodger fans. This season is already off to a better start than last season.

Opening Day 2019 was a day for the history books. Six different batters combined to hit eight home runs, an Opening Day record across all of MLB, and tying a Dodger franchise record. 46 home runs were hit across the league on Opening Day, and the Dodgers owned 5.75% of those. They are currently on pace for 1,296 home runs this season.

I quipped on Twitter that the Dodgers were exorcising their demons from last season, taking out their frustrations on those poor helpless baseballs and unsuspecting Diamondbacks pitchers. But when one thinks about it, there was a lot of frustration to unleash.

The Dodgers did not score in the first two games of last season, losing both games 1-0 to the San Francisco Giants. They didn’t hit their eighth home run as a team until the 11th game of the season.

Joc Pederson has been a part of trade rumors for the entire winter, supposedly mentioned in trade talks between the Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians for one of their two top pitchers. He also plays left field, one of the only positions where there is definitely going to be platooning this season. Alex Verdugo has been looking to break through to consistent playing time, and Joc finds himself fighting to remain among the primary outfielders. He went 3-for-5 with two home runs and a double, while batting in the leadoff position. Not a bad way to say you belong.

Super utility man Enrique Hernandez has finally proved himself a starter, taking ownership of the revolving door position that has been second base for the Dodgers. He responded to that honor by hitting two home runs of his own, 3-for-3 overall with a walk.

“Its been really hard to get to the point where I am right now,” Hernandez told reporters after the opener on Thursday afternoon. “The road’s not going to get any easier, but yeah, obviously having a position set, it makes this one a pretty memorable one, it’s the one that you always dream of, you know, being in the starting lineup, and having a position I guess, and one that I will never forget.”

After a breakout year last year, Max Muncy had a terrible spring training. Corey Seager was out most of last season due to elbow and hip surgery. Cody Bellinger saw his numbers fall last season. Austin Barnes saw his capabilities as full-time catcher questioned all off season. All of them hit home runs.

In addition to all the long balls, there was also situational hitting, with Muncy getting a run across with a productive out in the first inning. But one of the biggest standouts to me was there were only three strikeouts.

Not to be forgotten in all of the offense is starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. He went six full innings, scattering four hits and allowing a solo home run to Adam Jones. On a healthy Dodgers pitching staff, he would have been the fourth in line to be chosen as Opening Day starter, and he still went out and dominated.

Justin Turner and A.J. Pollock did not get any hits, but I’m not worried about them. They’ll be just fine. Brock Stewart did not look sharp, but again, I’m not worried about him, because either he will fix what’s wrong or floated back to Oklahoma City. There will undoubtedly be losing streaks and hitless streaks and multiple strikeouts and bad pitching somewhere down the line. But for now, let’s enjoy this gift the Dodgers have given us, a little exhaling to begin the season.

 

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28 thoughts on “The Dodgers Have Exorcised Some Of Last Year’s Early-Season Demons

  1. They’ve exorcised nothing.

    This is still an all or nothing offense. Yesterday was all.

    We are starting the year at home against two of the weakest teams in the National League. We won’t know how good this team really is for a while. Every expert predicts we easily walk to another West title. Beating up the two bottom teams is expected.

    One game. It was a thing of beauty but I await the nothing games that are sure to come.

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  2. I agree with scoop. Of course they will win the west. When you play half your games against those four lousy teams how can they not. We will have to wait for games against real teams to see where they are. The many problems haven’t disappeared after one game.

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  3. The homers were great. The game was really fun to watch. But the most important statement you made Andy was “there were only three strike outs”. If they can keep that up, we’ll be in great shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was a surprise to me too. I figured Greinke would go 6 and get 6 Ks, and bullpen would get a few more. There were so many Spring games with double digit strikeouts I thought for sure we would – a. beat the hell out of them and 2. strike out at 1 per inning.

      I’m far from a pessimist Andy. I’m the one has been saying for months we will win the West. Beating a rebuilding, far inferior squad, and doing it at home is not that big a deal to me. I said 5-2, on this homestand. A better test for us will be on the road in Denver and St Louis.

      I will always call em as I see em.

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  4. Andy, Scoop is like bud light! Wait till bear gets back! Scoop, I think your on to something with our bullpen! Poor Stewart can pitch on the days when we hit 8 home runs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just as you shouldn’t get overly excited from one game with 8 homers, you can’t get overly panicked from yesterday’s bullpen performance. Stewart was not very good, but he wasn’t as bad as the box score would indicate. There were a few dinky hits included with the bad stuff and he’ll be the first one to go once we get Hill or CK back. Yimi made one mistake and he paid for it. I wouldn’t draw any conclusions regarding the bullpen until we see some more games.

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  5. So you bench Barnes and Joc after that performance last night bevUse a lefty is on the mound? So much for not platooning as much this year. I don’t get this one damn bit.

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  6. This squad is a better team than last year. Big things coming. Pollock is an upgrade over Puig. He’s just a good baseball player flat out.

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  7. Yeah Alex I’m with you , I think pollock is going to be an upgrade over Puig. A.J. puts up good numbers when he is healthy.

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  8. That’s our Dodgers. More strikeouts than hits, 3 for 13 WRISP.

    The bullpen ERA did go down…. only 5 earned in 7.2….. much better than 4 earned in 3 the night before… so, there’s something positive Andy. But, 9 earned in 2 games?

    I think it takes more than one game to exorcise anything.

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    1. I’ll bet Boras was on the phone with Andrew each of the last two days, telling him for a measly 60 mil and 3 years he could have Kimbrel. Look at the bright side Scoop, our starters are pitching very well. Our results are already 50% better than they were after the first two games last year. We’ve lost only half as many games out of the first two and if we extrapolate that over a full season, we will have a final record of 127-35. World Series here we come!

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      1. I’m too old to extrapolate. I’ll just take one game at a time and be grateful for it.

        It’s 2 games. I believe yin yang is the way of the universe. I believe we will yang more than we yin I see 5 yangs (light) and 2 yins (dark) on this homestand. Remember, shadows cannot exist without light….. and what that has to do with Major League Baseball I’m not sure, but it fit the theme so I went with it.

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    1. Here’s one for you – Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia both have lower career ERA and WHIP than Joe Kelly.

      Spin that one Andy.

      Please don’t take what I say personally Andy. I’m just messing with you here. I like and appreciate your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

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