Kershaw hurls. Dodgers to victory

It’s not the best sign for Opening Day when Vin Scully starts the game talking about diarrhea.

The starting pitcher of the team Scully is broadcasting for the 63rd season, Clayton Kershaw, was putting on a private performance of the New Flu Revue. Even so, everything came out okay for the Dodgers, who launched their bid for an undefeated season with a 5-3 victory over San Diego.

Kershaw stomached three innings, surviving a bases-loaded scenario in the second, before his day ended. The Associated Press provided this summary:

… Mattingly said he saw Kershaw lying down in the tunnel behind the dugout after the third.

“It’s not a real good sign when your starting pitcher was laying down,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly said he and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt discussed holding out Kershaw.

“He wanted to go,” the manager said. “He wasn’t dizzy or didn’t have a fever or any of that kind of stuff, so it was one of those situations where he wanted to go. …

Kershaw struck out three, while also producing the Dodgers’ first hit of the season. It was a game effort. But it was up to his teammates to pick up the slack.

And so they did, with a little help from Padres starting pitcher Edinson Volquez. The offseason acquisition from Cincinnati struck out five batters in his first three innings, but gave up two singles and four walks in the fourth inning. Two of the walks came with the bases loaded, to James Loney and A.J. Ellis, allowing the Dodgers to take a 2-0 lead that would have been more had Andre Ethier not been incorrectly ruled out at home on an ostensible wild pitch. (Ellis also had a single in three at-bats on the day and saw 28 pitches in his four plate appearances.)

While Josh Lindblom was holding San Diego scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, the Dodgers tacked on another run thanks to a three-base error by San Diego centerfielder Cameron Maybin, who was too shocked that Gordon hit one over his head to make the catch after he went back and reached it. One out later, Matt Kemp himself reached base on an infield error to bring Gordon home. Although Gordon went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts, he made his presence felt not only on the bases but with a spectacular dive and throw-out in the fourth.

Mike MacDougal gave up a run in the sixth, but Matt Guerrier pitched a shutout seventh and Kemp seemed to put the game away in the eighth with a home run that was straight out of the Mike Piazza repetoire, a towering shot to right-center field to make the score 5-1.

Kenley Jansen echoed his poor first outing in 2011 by allowing a two-run home run to Maybin in the bottom of the eighth. That meant Javy Guerra would get a save opportunity in his 2012  debut after all, and Guerra retired the side in order on 14 pitches.

Juan Rivera had two singles for the Dodgers, and perhaps most amazingly, Juan Uribe had a walk.

This Dodger win came on a day that Detroit wasted eight innings of two-hit ball by Justin Verlander before edging Boston, a day that Cleveland blew a 4-1 ninth-inning lead and then lost in 16 innings (the longest Opening Day ever) and a day that eight of the 12 other teams playing were held to two runs or less. It was a day that could have easily given the Dodgers and their fans the heaves, but instead, they’ll go to sleep tonight with a nice victory to digest.

  • Daniel Zappala

    Man you had fun writing this one up. Since he didn’t give up any runs, you might say Kershaw had the dry heaves.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Alex Castellanos started at 2B for Albuquerque tonight, tripled and walked twice in six PA with 2 SB. Scott Van Slyke singled and homered. 

    Tim Federowicz singled and walked twice.

    Jerry Sands 0 for 4.

    http://bit.ly/HmalN1

  • KT

    Just finished reviewing the game after going to the game
     
    I told my daughter Ethier was safe at home and she laughed at me
     
    of course I got the final laugh since I was on TV 9 times and we never once did it see her face, only the side of her head…she was always blocked by the security guard on the third base side

    I had to ask Tim Wallach why Kershaw was removed because there was no mention of what happened to him and he told me he was sick which made me feel a lot better because I thought he might have hurt himself

    • Anonymous

       What’s more, Ethier WAS safe.  I don’t know why the ump wasn’t on the 1st-base side of HP.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that the Dodgers medical staff, if pressed, would say that Kershaw had gastroenteritis and not flu.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       I’m almost sure they’d want to use a word that rhymed with “Zoo.”

  • Anonymous

    Jansen looks hurt.  90mph is not where he was last year, and he just isn’t overpowering anyone this year.  Not a good sign.  Seems like the hurt Jansen from last year.

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      It was pointed out to me on TBLA yesterday that Jansen started off horribly last year in April, too, also giving up home runs. Velocity was down, etc. He did pretty well after that if I recall. So it’s a little early to say he’s hurt.

  • Bryan Friedman

    Jon, great writeup as usual. So glad the season is underway, and very much enjoying the new format here at DodgerThoughts.com.

  • Anonymous

    Toward the end of regulation in tonight’s game between the Kings and Sharks, San Jose winger Ryane Clowe broke up a Jared Stoll rush up the ice on a power play with a deft poke check.
    However, Clowe was seated on his team’s bench at the time.

    This is not legal. However, the referees missed the call. San Jose won the game in a shootout.

    The two teams play again on Saturday.

    • Anonymous

      Th Kings can still win their division by winning at San Jose in the final regular season game on Saturday. However, home teams win a high percentage of the time in the NHL so the more likely outcome is an 8th place finish for the Kings with both San Jose and Phoenix passing them. If this happens they will take on the 1st place team in the Western Conference in the playoffs currently that is Vancouver but St. Louis could pass them. The last week of the NHL season has been very exciting and I have been a little surprised not to see any hockey comments here since there were some in the passed few years.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      I couldn’t believe my eyes, never seen that before in hockey. That paired with the terrible penalty given against the Kings leading to the last Sharks goal was horrendous. I hope the Yotes drop a point and the Kings can get revenge in San Jose Saturday night.

  • Anonymous

    Matt “The Bison” Kemp rounds out his 40-40 season with a bomb of a home run to right field in the Dodgers Opening Day win.  Last year, the Dodgers only got to play 161 games because of a rainout in Washington DC, and Kemp ended up with only 39 home runs (and 40 stolen bases).  So now, in a full 162-game season, his is 40-40.

    (And, by the way, this works on either side of the 2011 season.  Kemp hit a home run in the Dodgers final game of the 2010 season.)

    #That’sWhyTheyCallHimTheBison

    • Anonymous

      Nice

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    For good measure, in the edition of SportsCenter I just saw they had Gordon’s dive and throw as the #1 top play. I wonder how many web gems the kid will get this season.

    • Anonymous

       If he continues to field the position, I won’t worry a whit about his bat.

    • KT

      That was awsome to see in person because you could feel the excitement in the stadium on his fabulous play

  • Anonymous

    Rancho, winning 5-2 after 7, loses their opener at home 6-5 in 11 on a bases loaded walk. Zach Lee gave up only 2 base runners in 5 innings.
    The box score:http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t526&t=g_box&gid=2012_04_05_inlafa_rcqafa_1

  • Anonymous

    You know I love Kershaw but right now I am a little annoyed with him. There was no reason for him to go out and pitch if he was that ill. I know he wanted to be a gamer but I’m sure not wanting to miss the opener played a role as well. He showed poor judgement going out there and not even coming close to what a starter needs to do and they had to burn the bullpen early because of it.
    No big deal really but I hope he learns the importance of being honest to Mattingly (and himself) about his condition and saving the heroics for when we REALLY need them! I’m also mad because he misses out on a fairly easy win and I want to see him ring up back to back Cys like he deserves!
    I hope Dee doesn’t let this bad start get him into a funk because at least he was patient out there like a good leadoff hitter should be
    Kemp looks loose and when he’s loose LOOK OUT!
    Loney was hitless but make no mistake that was a great at bat when he worked that bases loaded walk.
    Glad the blown call at the plate didn’t effect the game. I don’t blame the ump too much because it was a bang-bang play but it shows the desperate need for replays.
    Never leave Vin!

    GO BLUE!

    • overkill94

       It’s a double-edged sword since Kershaw’s toughness would be questioned if he didn’t take the mound.  He definitely didn’t look right – especially on those first 10 pitches or so – but it was nice for him to gut out those 3 innings.

      While it’s easy to think Billingsley could’ve just stepped in and pitched tonight instead of Kershaw, remember that major leaguers don’t like straying from their routines.  Plus, only Lindblom had to go 2 innings while Wright, Coffey, and Elbert will be fresh for tomorrow.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I disagree with Sterculius.  This isn’t like a player playing injured, and possibly making it worse.  If his illness had made him ineffective, hurting the team, they’d have pulled him.  What he did was pitch 3 innings that the bullpen didn’t have to pitch, because if he’d been a late scratch, I don’t think there’s any way they’d have started Billingsley – it would have been Lindblom starting and one or two more pitchers used.

        Plus, everyone was rested, and they have an extra reliever now with the days off as they are.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Apparently if Kershaw couldn’t go Wright would have started, not sure how we would have been better off with that. Who’s to say Wright could have been as effective for three innings? It shows a lot of guts and I wish he could have stayed in there longer. And it isn’t like he had an injury that he risked worsening by pitching, it was only the flu, it will pass.

    • Anonymous

      So you wanted Jamie Wright starting? I thank Kershaw for gutting it out to get to 3 innings so they could get to the BP and still have a shot.

    • KT

      On Dee he was very solid in the field but a couple of his swings were…let’s say…he was definitely fooled

    • Anonymous

       Yeah I would have rather have Wright starting and push Kershaw back a day and get a full seven from him. 7 innings is better than 3.

  • http://www.mythphile.com/ Blue-eyed Gal (Ellen)

    I guess we could say that Kershaw managed to pitch three innings with vim and vibrio. It took a lot of guts. I hope he and they are on happier terms in a day or two.

    (And here I was going to berate Jon for some tasteless puns. It’s contagious.)

    Good game, if a little weird. Thanks to Kemp for making sure a bad call at the plate didn’t hurt.

     I wish the camera hadn’t kept focusing on the owner’s box, though. I have a delicate stomach.

  • Anonymous

    A good win, I think our great defense (Gordon, Ellis, Loney today) is going to win us some games this year

  • Anonymous

    Classic title, Jon.

  • http://profiles.google.com/michaelgreen327 Michael Green

    Jon, you worked in more puns than The Vin.  Nicely done.  The good sign is that when Volquez lost control, the good sign was that the Dodgers waited him out–good baseball.  Then Adam Kennedy had to swing.  Bad baseball.  The bullpen held up well, though Kenley worried me a bit.  Gordon was magical on that play.  And The Vin was in mid-season form, as if he has any other.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent start to the season, all things considered. I really can’t wait for the home opener on Tuesday! 

    I remember there was someone on this board who once advocated replacing “Don’t Sto Believing” with “Good Vibrations”. In light of this year’s pre-game entertainment, I think this suggestion should be passed up the chain of command to Magic/McCourt!

  • Anonymous

    Interesting tidbit from mlbtr- Of this years opening day starters 12 were drafted (5 in the 1st round; one in the 22nd); 8 were acquired as free agents; 7 acquired by trade and 3 were international free agent signings.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

     NPUT