Banner ads follow small aircrafts in the sky. The traffic around the 5 and 101 split is horrendous. There is Dodger blue everywhere, so much that I can’t even see straight. Man, it must be tax season.
Okay, I’m kidding. But, please forgive me. I’m a little giddy. It’s Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. Take a deep breath and say that aloud. It’s Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. Nice.
Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I couldn’t scrap the whole day and head out to Dodger Stadium. Let me rephrase that. I couldn’t scrap my work day and enjoy myself at Dodger Stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to be one of the record 57,099 folks in the record-breaking crowd, especially as Hall-of-Fame announcer Vin Scully was throwing the ceremonial opening pitch to former MLB catcher and current Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Scully has provided play-by-play for the Dodgers organization for 60 years, the longest such tenure of any professional sports announcer (with one team.) And you know what? Ol’ Scully looked in better form than the opposing pitcher.
The Giants came in Monday on a three game skid. And after the Dodgers trounced their rivals 11-1, the Giants continued to slide. Randy Johnson lost for his first time ever at Dodger Stadium, a loss that left him yearning for win number 296.
Things seemed to be favoring the Giants at the top of the fourth, when they evened things up at 1-1. However, in the bottom of the frame, the Big Unit secured two outs after giving up a run. He then gave up another five big runs. The Dodgers took control after that.
Second baseman Orlando Hudson, who hit for .305 in 107 games last season managed to improve this season’s average to .333 by hitting for the cycle. He is the first Dodger to complete such feat since Wes Parker in 1970. Baseball is the ultimate team sport – so, not surprisingly, Hudson wasn’t the only Dodger who contributed to Monday’s win.
Although the Dodgers lowered the skill in the bull-pen and pinched their PENNYS the wrong way (the Dodgers said goodbye to both Derek Lowe and Brad Penny in the off-season), right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley (2-0) has been impressive thus far. Billingsley’s win on Monday was his first home appearance since a loss in the National League Championship Series last year. Billingsley appeared undeterred. He tallied 11 strikeouts and no walks and went 1-2 from the plate. The win topped a 5-2 outing over the Padres last Wednesday.
Andre Ethier helped Hudson propel the Dodger offense. He managed two home-runs and four RBI’s on the day.
Manny Note: Compared to his strong showing on Sunday, Manny Ramirez was relatively quiet Monday. He had a double, was walked twice and scored a run. And yes, he remains with the Dodgers, despite recently admitting that he would like to return to Cleveland before his career ends. Hey, I’ll give him his propers for being nostalgic.
At day’s end, the Padres remain atop the NL West at 6-2, with the boys in blue (no, not LAPD) slightly behind at 5-3. The season is still fresh, so anything can happen. But both the Pads and the Dodgers look good early on.
The Dodgers continue the series against San Francisco on Wednesday. Let’s hope they can send the Giants back up North with a few more losses in hand. Travel via beanstalk unnecessary.