5 Key Takeaways from Dodgers’ Series Opener Against Reds

bellinger

Many fans of the Dodgers have been anticipating the Reds’ arrival to Dodger Stadium since the teams orchestrated one of the biggest trades of the 2018-19 offseason. Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Kyle Farmer and and injured Alex Wood all made their return to Los Angeles, alongside a few other former Dodger prospects in Scott Schebler and Jose Peraza.

The first game of the three game set did not disappoint by any stretch of the imagination. Some of the consequences may even play big down the road. Here are five of the key takeaways from the opening affair:

Bellinger InjuryCody Bellinger was struck on the knee by a Luis Castillo heater in the bottom of the third inning, and although initially it looked like he could have continued, the slugger exited the game when the pain became too much to bear. X-Rays were negative. After he was examined, the diagnosis came back as a bruise, but it still remains to be seen if the 23-year-old will miss any extended action.

“It hit me in a good spot to get hit,” Bellinger told J.P. Hoornstra of the OC Register after the game. “It still definitely hurts, but nothing serious. Wake up (Tuesday), see how I feel.”

Fans will be waiting eagerly for news when the players report to the stadium for Tuesday’s contest.

The Return of Kershaw—Aside from the home run off the bat of Puig in the first inning and the fact he wasn’t able to record the win, Clayton Kershaw‘s return to the club on Monday was definitely a productive one.

“I wish I could’ve done anything but give up a homer to Puig in the first at-bat,” Kershaw said after the game. “He put a good swing on it. I’ve seen him do that a lot.”

Kersh threw 84 pitches over seven full innings, allowing two earned runs with six punchouts and no walks. His four-seam sat in the 89-91 range, and despite his hard stuff being not especially effective, his curve ball turned out to be one of his primary weapons. Like Bellinger, fans will be awaiting news on how Kershaw feels on Tuesday afternoon. As of right now, things look good for the lefty, and his return couldn’t have come at a better time.

Barnes Needs a Break—Hoornstra also pointed out the recent workload of catcher Austin Barnes, pointing out that the backstop has been struggling with the lumber after beginning the season at a red-hot pace.

Barnes began the season by going 8-for-19 with a double, two long balls and five RBI, but has gone just 2-for-14 over his last four starts.

“This pace that he’s on, I don’t see us trying to push him to that,” skipper Dave Roberts told Hoornstra in the press conference.

Look for Rocky Gale to Garner a start on Tuesday. Russell Martin, so long as his back stiffness has fully subsided, could be eligible to return from the injured list by the end of the weekend.

Pederson Delivers in the Clutch—Regardless of all his offensive heroics over the years—especially in the postseason—Monday night’s walkoff homer was Joc Pederson‘s first career game-winner.  Despite his torrid start to begin the season, Pederson later cooled off drastically. However, if Monday night is any indication, another hot streak could be just around the corner. Joc already has seven bombs, and his 1.073 OPS certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at.

Yasiel Being Yasiel—When Puig stepped up to the plate in the first inning of the opener, the fans gave him a bit of a mixed ovation, as some showed their appreciation for the superstar while others shared their disdain by booing in light of recent stories in the news. Hours earlier, Puig was late for his pre-game presser, nor did he show up for the presentation of his NLCS Championship ring.

Nevertheless, his bomb to center in his first AB reminded fans of all the potential he brought to the plate. At the end of the day, maybe all of Puig’s negitive attributes are balanced out by his tremendous skills and tools that he brings to the game. The jury’s still out on whether or not the deal with Cincinnati was a profitable one, but whatever the outcome may be, it appears right now as if the Dodgers will be just fine without him.

If Monday was a prelude to the excitement of what remains in the series, fans best strap themselves in for a thrilling ride. Kenta Maeda is set to face-off against fellow righty Tyler Mahle in the second game on Tuesday.

First pitch is slated for 7:10 PM Los Angeles time.

 

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18 thoughts on “5 Key Takeaways from Dodgers’ Series Opener Against Reds

  1. Puig is Puig in the same way as Manny was Manny. He has one NL Championship ring so maybe he felt he did not need another,,,,,although I am sure he kept it after they gave it to him. Farmer was probably very excited to get his. That being said, they are all on the opposition now. So get them out as often as you can. Games against teams like the Reds should not be that hard to win. But over their last 8 contests the Blue is 1-7. They are not really an offensive juggernaut at this point. Castillo outside of plunking Cody and scaring the Dodger nation out of it’s wits, had the most embarrassing moment of the game. He swung and broke his bat and the wounded duck landed in front of Bellinger, but Castillo was not running. He did not see that the ball had gone fair. So Belli threw him out at first. Seager showing his rust right now and just missing balls he used to hit. Pollock continued his struggles and Muncy was swinging at nothing but air. At least we were not subjected to another round of Chris Taylor. Barnes is gassed and needs a blow,,,,,,,

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  2. I’m glad to see Kershaw finally getting the feel for his slider again. It took a couple innings but when he dropped the velocity the pitch started to have that hard spike that makes it so devastating. I hate to admit it but I think the old 92-93 Kershaw is gone forever. Rich Hill actually throws harder and that’s very scary. Clayton can survive with that 89 fastball but he’s going to have to throw his curveball more than he wants to along with his slider. Most importantly I hope he does his best to find his changeup. The days of blowing guys away is over for him he’s got to be crafty. Tom Glavine had a 20 year hall of fame career and never once touched 90 on the gun so it can be done.

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  3. Puig was late because he was out shopping on Sunset and the Reds think it’s ok I guess. He will wear out his welcome very fast if he doesn’t grow up a little. I hate to see a ridiculous talent like him waste his gift.

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  4. I am now officially in love with Verdugo. Not only is he hitting but hitting in clutch situations. He’s not another all or nothing guy. And he looks good against lefties. He needs to be in a regular rotation. Can’t afford to give Taylor any ab’s at the expense of Verdugo

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      1. Verdugo looks unlikable able to me. Only smiles when he’s done something himself. I haven’t seen many games but the ones I did see he didn’t look like he was having fun. Looks like a loner. I’d still trade him for likable pitching. We’ve got plenty of outfielders.

        Hey, Taylor didn’t strike out. That’s like the first time, right? Things may be looking up for him. He could go 1 for 5 and raise his average. No where to go but up. Maybe away.

        Pitching has looked better. Kelly and Baez with clean innings, Maeda with 6+ so that’s 3 games in a row for starters.

        Every team in the West but us has a negative run differential. Padres can’t continue at .579 with a -12 RDIFF. Is Colorado this bad? I doubt it.

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      2. That would be Garcia not Baez. I’m on the road, not sleeping well. Spent the night in Desert Hot Springs on Sunday, didn’t think Coachella stretched that far. Boy was I wrong. Partying went on on our floor until 4. Nothing could be done about it. In OC now. Commercial blowers start early around here.

        We’re heavy favorites again today. -180 on some boards. Hope Buehler rebounds. Bellinger still a ?

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  5. Going to ye olde ballyard for todays tussle with the might Red Legs from the Queen City. According to all reports Sir Cody of Bellinger and Justin of the house of Turner will both be in full regalia today! Walter of the house of Buehler will be on the bump for the Knights in blue and Sonny the Peasant Gray is tossing for the Scarlett Legs….A win and sweep of this joust is highly anticipated.

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  6. Dennis, I know in the past Verdugo has had a bit of an attitude and an entitlement issue. But Imheard Gil Reyes worked with him this off season and that Verdugo’s attitude has come around. Much better teammate this year. Are you hearing differently?

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  7. I’m sure Verdugo isn’t the most popular guy in the clubhouse that’s for sure. He looks like a wanna be thug with that big gold chain and stupid corn rows and do-rag on his head. Not at all trying to be racist but he acts like he wants to be a different skin color. That being said I’m sure he’s a breath of fresh air to the guys compared to Puig. The kid can hit that’s for damn sure. He’s got that sweet swing like Ethier had. Almost makes you tempted to dangle him in trade talks while his value is sky high. He could very well bring back an ace pitcher at the deadline if he’s hitting .300 still.

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  8. Also, we are going to be seeing Gavin Lux much sooner than expected if he keeps raking like he is. He’s a player. This team has its future at 2B for the next decade it looks like.

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  9. Good game, a real pitchers duel. Pollocks homer was all the offense. Kike’s error in the 9th allowed the Reds to get closer than they should have and Barnes error allowed Puig to get to 3rd and score on the sac fly. Jansen would have had a clean inning.

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    1. I was wondering how that happened. Box score was puzzling. 1 run on no hits and no walks.

      There sure are a lot of people in Orange County. Most of them appear to be in cars. I thought I used to live here. This isn’t the place where I grew up.

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