To be a fly on the wall as Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi watched everything unfold at Dodger Stadium on Monday afternoon…
Yes, it’s one game. Yes, this team is built for an entire season and not just one game. And yet, it couldn’t really have gone any better, could it?
Clayton Kershaw struggled, and the Los Angeles Dodgers still won.
Matt Kemp looked good, but the Dodgers looked better.
Oh, and then there were those new guys…
And, oh, was it a good day to be a new guy.
Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick and Joc Pederson (“sorta-new-guy-ish”) combined to go 5-for-11 with two walks, three runs, four RBIs and a pair of steals. And then there was the defense.
Perhaps no play more summarized the offseason approach more than the double play the team turned in the top of the eighth — a flawless 5-4-3 double play that featured a quick throw from Juan Uribe, a gritty turn from Kendrick and a great dig by Adrian Gonzalez. Contrast that play (and Joc Pederson’s brilliant diving catch) with the comedic relief that the Padres outfield provided throughout the day, and you begin to understand why this front office cares so much about defense.
To make things even better, the offense was equally as impressive.
After starting the game 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers finished two-for-their-last-three — not allowing the slow start to discourage them — with an RBI double from Kendrick and a three-run jack from Rollins to give the Dodgers the win.
To top it all off, the Dodger bullpen was rock solid. Three innings, a hit, three strikeouts and most importantly, no runs.
From the looks of it, you’d think it were a perfect day, and yet, starting the day off was a start from Clayton Kershaw that was, well, very “meh”.
In a way, though, it was Kershaw’s blandness that made this win even sweeter.
No Dodger fan wants to see Kershaw struggle — but the idea that the team could win despite his struggles is comforting to say the least. In 2014, the Dodgers were 3-6 in games that Kershaw allowed 3+ earned runs — in other games they were 18-0.
Now, of course, everything needs to be put into perspective. It’s April 6 and we’re 1/162 through the regular season. But, I suppose you have to start somewhere, and as far as this hypothetical-fly-on-the-wall knows, I’d say this was just about all anyone could have asked for…
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Justin Turner