A wise man once said that baseball breaks your heart. It was designed to break your heart. The first two games of the Dodgers’ season will go down in the memory as heartbreakers that we would all like to forget.
Baseball can be so whacky. If you had Joe Panik beating the Dodgers a pair of times with solo shots off Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen to open the season, you win.
There weren’t a lot of high points to gloss over, and I won’t sugarcoat in this post. You should be frustrated, confused, and a little concerned. Yes, we are just two games into a 162 game season. The Dodgers look like a team suddenly pressing without the presence of Justin Turner in the lineup. The monkey is on their back right now, and they’ve now lost twice to the hated rival Giants. In each of those games they have wasted great pitching performances by their starter.
Johnny Cueto vs. Alex Wood Showdown
Johnny Cueto carried a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday night. The Dodgers offensive highlights are easy to summarize. Chris Taylor had a bloop hit to right field that led off the seventh inning. It suddenly felt to me like they had won the game or done something monumental. Then I realized that the only hard contact on the night was a Corey Seager line drive to right field and Yasiel Puig’s thunderous rip that somehow died in the left field corner. Taylor’s single would go down as the lone hit on the night and save the Dodgers from becoming part of a history book for the time being. They have now opened the season with 18 innings without a run. The all-time franchise record is 19 innings of scoreless offensive baseball to begin a season. So they may make history tomorrow.
Alex Wood was phenomenal tonight – in fact I’m naming him Dodger of the game. Wood went eight innings, allowed one hit, and struck out five Giants. He didn’t allow a free pass. He was efficient, working all parts of the zone and did all this on 90 pitches, 65 of which were for strikes. If you need something to take solace in right now – let it be that Alex Wood appears to be very much the same man of 2017 who went 16-3. He matched a dominant Cueto step-for-step.
The Declining Velocity of Kenley Jansen
I don’t want to pile on – there are enough things to be concerned about. But Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser gave mention to Kenley Jansen’s decline in velocity during spring training. He took over for Wood in the top of the ninth inning. Our broadcast team had the chance to mention that; Jansen’s pitches were sitting in the 89 to 91 MPH range and confirmed the velocity still wasn’t there. Then Panik hit a pitch into the right field seats. After the third error of the night by Logan Forsythe, which we will touch base on in a moment; Jansen had a clean inning. His first appearance of 2018 goes down as a loss.
Logan Forsythe’s All-Night Snowball Fight
It’s just one ballgame, but Forsythe had a rough night at third base. He spent much of the evening kicking, bobbling, chasing the baseball around like it was a stray chicken. He threw errantly twice to Cody Bellinger at first base. None of this led to any runs, not that it makes it less concerning. If Forsythe is going to be the guy who plays third on most nights, you hope that this doesn’t become any type of a trend.
Tomorrow is a New Day
The best part about baseball is if the Dodgers go out tomorrow and score eight runs, homeostasis and happiness can be restored. Kirk Gibson was in the booth tonight, which was probably the most enjoyable part of the evening. He talked about his legendary 1988 at-bat and some hardcore baseball stuff. It was a nice segment with Orel and Joe Davis. The team’s play spoiled what could have been a special opening night at Chavez Ravine. But tomorrow is a new day, and redemption is just a wake-up away for all of us.
Let the record state that on this March 30th night of 2018, the Dodgers offensively battled themselves like boats against the current. I am mildly concerned but have not hit the five alarm siren just yet. Something good is on the horizon. Anything at this point would restore some hope.
[button color=”blue” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”http://www.dodgersnation.com/dave-roberts-takeaways-from-opening-day-lost/2018/03/30/”]Dave Roberts’ Comments On Opening Day Loss[/button]