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Dodgers Split Opening Series, Questions Remain

 

 

The Dodgers played the Padres even during the teams’ season-opening series at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, winning games one and three, 4-1 and 5-2, and dropping games two and four, 4-2 and 4-3. They travel to face Arizona, another West Division rival, in a three-game series over the weekend.

LA’s bullpen, a question mark in spring training, cost the team the series finale on Thursday. With the Dodgers leading 3-1 behind starter Clayton Kershaw and middle reliever Ronald Belisario, the team’s bullpen allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth to allow the Padres to salvage the series split. Will Ohman yielded a solo homer to Adrian Gonzalez at the start of the inning and then the usually-reliable Corey Wade surrendered a triple to third baseman Edgar Gonzalez, an RBI single by catcher Nick Hundley, and a game-winning double to utility infielder Luis Rodriguez in his only official at bat of the game. Prior to his clutch blow, Rodriguez had walked three times and scored a run.

LA Dodgers hats Kershaw pitched extremely well, allowing an earned run on two hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked four. The second-year Dodger left hander also scored the team’s first run in the third by hitting a one-out single and advancing on three walks. It was Kershaw’s third major league hit (2 for 29 last year). Orlando Hudson, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp each collected two hits and Kemp had two RBI. It was the newcomer Hudson’s second straight game with two hits. Manny Ramirez singled, doubled and drove in three runs to pace the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory. Chad Billingsley went six innings, allowing two runs on two hits. The bullpen came through in this game, with Hong-Chih Kuo, Wade, and Jonathan Broxton each hurling a shutout inning. James Loney and Kemp smashed Padre pitching at a .400 clip to lead the Dodgers’ attack in the series.

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Dodger Chatter: Hiroki Kuroda pitched the Dodgers best game of the series in the season opener, yielding one earned run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He fanned two and walked one. Blake DeWitt not only made his professional debut at shortstop for the Dodgers Thursday replacing Rafael Furcal, he also replaced Furcal in the leadoff spot. DeWitt, who had a .344 on base percentage last season, went 0-4 and reached once on a walk. He usually bats eighth in the majors. Randy Wolf, starter and loser in game two, gave up all four runs (all earned) on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. According to the Dodger website, Ramirez credited a change in the positioning of his hands for his offensive outburst in the 5-2 victory. “That’s why we got video,” he said. “My hands were too far away and I tried to fix it before the game. I watched at bats, watched what I did last year. Sometimes my hands are not in the right place.” Pitching match ups against the 1-2 Diamondbacks: Friday: James McDonald (0-0) vs. Jon Garland (0-0). Saturday: Hiroki Kuroda (1-0, 1.59 ERA) vs.Yusmeiro Petit (0-0). Sunday: Randy Wolf (0-1, 6.75) vs. Dan Haren (0-1, 1.29).

 

By: Bob Trostler
Los Angeles Dodgers Correspondent


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