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.