Though 2015 ended inauspiciously, the entire season provided plenty of great moments both individually and as a team. After all, the Dodgers were able to win the division for the third year in a row with the clinching win coming not just against the Giants, but in their park against the reigning World Series MVP. Let’s look back at 15 moments of them, starting with Opening Day.
15. Opening Day
The Dodgers opened their season against a familiar foe in the San Diego Padres. To add to the already feverish excitement around the start to any season, former Dodger Matt Kemp started and knocked in three RBIs for the Padres. Los Angeles would win the game 6-3 behind Jimmy Rollins’ first home run as a Dodger – a three-run blast in the eighth inning to break a then 3-3 tie. Oh, and that Kershaw guy struck out nine. I’d imagine we’ll see more of him as this list continues.
14. Joc Pederson Named Opening Day Starter
For the first time in nearly three decades, a Dodgers rookie started on opening day. That rookie: Joc Pederson.
While Pederson technically debuted in September, 2014, given how little he played at the major league level that season, he was still considered a rookie this year. Joc certainly held up his end of the bargain, going 1-for-3 and scoring a run in the win over the Padres. The last rookie to start in those circumstances was Mike Piazza, and he turned out pretty well.
13. Yasmani Grandal Powers Offensive Explosion in Milwaukee
Grandal had come into the game struggling offensively but broke out in a big way, powering the Dodgers’ 14-run deluge of offense in Milwaukee against the Brewers. He hit two home runs, which would qualify as a good enough day for anyone, but finished the game with a career-high eight RBIs. Before that game, only four other Dodgers had ever accomplished such a feat.
12. Corey Seager Makes His Debut
While the Dodgers may have lost the game, you had the feeling they won in the long run having watched their top prospect play so well at the big league level. Corey Seager would end the game as only the second Dodger since 1914 to get two hits (including a double), score two runs and knock in two RBIs. Vin Scully (who makes an appearance later in this list) would say the deuces were wild for Seager that evening.
11. Adrian Gonzalez Scorches the Earth With His Hot Start
Matt Kemp got a first-hand view from right field as Adrian Gonzalez became the first player ever in Major League history to belt five homers in the season’s first three games. On that third night, Kemp watched each of Gonzalez’s three bombs sailed over his head in right field. Given baseball’s lengthy history, becoming the first ever to do anything is quite the accomplishment. Not a bad way at all to start the season.
10. Vin Scully Announces His Return for 2016 Campaign
Dodgers fans have entered each of the last couple seasons wondering whether this might be the last one in which the greatest voice in all of sports will again be announcing for their team. So, when Vin Scully announced he’d be returning next year for his 67th season as the voice of the Dodgers, you can imagine the groundswell of support for such a decision. Baseball as a sport does these moments as well as anyone, so that night was quite special as he made the announcement between innings with the aid of Magic Johnson and Jimmy Kimmel. Gotta love L.A.
9. Dodgers Sweep Giants to Put a Chokehold on Division
It was the end of the August and the Giants and Dodgers were barely separated at all in the divisional standings. If the playoffs were indeed going to still be a possibility for this season, they’d have to earn them by beating the defending champs. The Dodgers rose to the occasion in overwhelming fashion by sweeping their hated division rivals to put the race securely in the Dodgers’ favor. Beating the Giants is fun. As it felt in the moment like the Dodgers had ended their season in all intents and purposes, that’s about as good as it gets in the regular season.