Categorized | Mark Timmons

Home Sweet Home – Opening Day at Dodger Stadium

57,099 people packed into Dodger Stadium today, starting at 10:30am PST. Among the festivities was Vin Scully throwing out the first pitch, a fly over by a stealth bomber, and the players entered the field from different rows in the stands with Manny coming last from the left field stands. It was very cool to have the players in the stands with the fans and run onto the field that way.

dodgersI want to start by saying that I have great respect for Randy Johnson and his fantastic career. In his prime he was scary good, just ask that bird from spring training! Although he is not the same pitcher he used to be, The Big Unit WAS 7-0 with no losses in 11 starts at Chavez Ravine. So that gave me reason to worry about facing him today in our home opener.

But this is a new Dodgers club this season, a club that has a much different make-up. One might have to go back to the early 80s, or even further, to find a Dodgers club even close to the one we have now as far as make up goes. Let’s face it, this year’s team is supposed to be an offensive team in the sense that we expect to score a lot of runs each game!

But so far our pitching has been the driving force behind our victories, with most of our games thus far decided by 1, 2, or 3 runs. And today our pitching continued to be stingy with Chad Billingsley dueling with The Big Unit for the first few innings. Billingsley ended up with 7 very strong innings and struck out the last 5 hitters he faced (had 11Ks on the day), including striking out the side and the heart of the Giants lineup all  swinging in the 7th!!!

The wheels fell off for Johnson in a huge 4th inning with 7 earned for the aging pitcher. Here is here is how the 35+minute inning broke down:

Ethier flied out to center to end the inning.
Martin singled to center, Hudson and Ramirez scored, Loney to second.
Loney walked, Hudson to third, Ramirez to second.
Ramirez intentionally walked.
Hudson doubled to deep left center, Furcal scored.
Furcal singled to right, Kemp and Blake scored.
Billingsley sacrificed to third, Kemp to third, Blake to second.
Blake reached on an infield single, Kemp to second.
Kemp walked.
Ethier homered to center.
Martin struck out swinging.

So while we are on the topic of our offense did I mention that Orlando Hudson hit for the cycle! That was only the second cycle by a Dodger EVER, the last one was from Wes Parker in 1970. Its important to note that cycles are more rare than no hitters. Ethier broke out with 2 home runs as well. Shoot, even Russel Martin was 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Everybody in the starting lineup had a hit today as we defeated the Giants 11 – 1 today! So there you have it, all we needed was some home cookin! I couldn’t get the box score to display properly, probably because the box is a huge mess, so here’s a link to it.

BTW Here is how we break down so far:

Guest Poster Miguel Salcido = Dodgers 3-0

Mark, I may need to get up on here more often. :-)

About Miguel Salcido

Professional online marketing consultant, husband, father, completely obsessed Dodgers fan, writer, speaker, and all around sports fan. I represented LADodgerTalk.com in the press box at Dodger Stadium last season. My favorite player is Orel Hershiser. I am currently grooming my 2 and 4 year old boys as avid Dodgers fans. Follow me on Twitter, http://twitter.com/ladodgertalk. Oh, and I hate the Giants.

37 Responses to “Home Sweet Home – Opening Day at Dodger Stadium”

  1. Ken says:

    MS – Nice Post

    Everyone must be celebrating or went back to work

  2. dodgerdave says:

    amazing victory today!

    could not have asked for a better home opening day start, what really did it for me was vin scully….

    “ITS TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL!!!”…….from the field, i knew it was going to be a magical day

    odawg! is a beast!!!!!
    russell is coming around
    loney solid
    ethier…0 dingers, now 2!!

    wait til manny heats up!

    oh yaa, that guy chad billingsley, 2-0, what a gem today

    so pleased, lets take it into wednesday night!!

  3. Roger says:

    This will be a remembered day in Dodger history.

    I am sure there will be a woman and a man, who has a young child with them in Dodger Stadium today — and (maybe) their first live ballgame, and they will tell them — never to forget this day. And 40 and 50 and 60 and 70 years from now, this chilren, then grown up, will tell their friends — they were there.

    And what is “there,” the cycle, C-Bills, Ethier and the real start to a Dodger dynasty of solid baseball, with some of the best players to play the game.

    So let it be written . . .

  4. Miguel Salcido says:

    Thanks Ken, I was away for a few hours after posting this and expected to see more comments. But I think that many people check the site in the early mornings on the east coast so maybe more commentary tomorrow.

    Looks like dodgerdave was one of the lucky 57,099 to make history today. Roger put it pretty well, we all witnessed a historic game today. Historic for so many reasons.

    But I think the best part of today’s victory is the hope, the sign of potential realized for the team and the fans. The winter of discontent with the Manny negotiations, the worries about our pitching (which is seen by many to be our Achilles heal), the disappointing split with the Padres to start the season, all of those things seemed to float away; as outstanding hitting combined with inspired pitching talent gave us all a glimpse of this team’s potential.

  5. dodgerdave says:

    great posts miguel by the way! keep the streak alive!

    i was there!

    recently moved to the washington DC area for work, flew out of baltimore at 8pm last night, made the game today, taking the red eye back to DC tonight to be at work early tomorrow morning!

    dodger dedication! couldnt have asked for a better trip, simply a miracle! the energy at the game was unbelievable

  6. Bill Russell says:

    I was at the game today. Bills pitched great and is reclaiming the ACE role on the staff. Hudson put on a show today, this man can ball. It’s funny how just a few short days ago people were calling for him to move into the 8 hole and wondering why we even signed him. Mark is still worried about the 17 overall draft pick it took to get him. What we should be worring about is how to keep him for a few more years. He’s a team leader with a glove and a stick. Allstar material.
    It was nice seeing Ethier and Martin hit the ball and Casey Blake making some dazzling plays at 3rd. It felt like everyone had a hand in todays victory. Go Blue

  7. MrQuezo17 says:

    I am a true-blue diehard Dodger dude, and I am happy with the start so far. I have to say though that I’m not going to get crazy just yet. 5-3 is a long way from 100-62! The guys just need to keep plugging away. I DO have faith in them.

    I also have to say that I think Russell “J” Martin has been getting abused here lately and I don’t think it’s warranted. I don’t see Furcal or Blake tearing it up and Ethier, before today was at .208 with NO HRs. It’s very early, give the kid a chance… but if he’s batting under .200 by August – no mercy!

  8. mario says:

    Mark is still pissed about that pick we lost…
    but anyway, this might be a fun year..
    11 runs? are you kidding me….

  9. Bill Russell says:

    Delwyn Young was designated for reassignment today. I really liked this kid, I wish him the best.

  10. Michael says:

    Is Joe really that smart? About 3 weeks ago Joe announced that Kuroda would get the opening day start thus pushing Bills to the 3rd spot in the rotation. All winter long Chad was our ace and he was feeling it. Did Joe move Bills to lighten the load on his shoulders full well knowing that Bills was our Ace and would get the home opener. If that indeed was the plan, I don’t think it could have worked out any better.

  11. Michael says:

    Dewitt to AAA so he can play everyday and Castro called up. Exactly what I was saying before we made our final preseason moves.I don’t like off days.

  12. Badger says:

    Yep, a packed house. No surprise to me. One of many to come. 3.5 million screaming Dodger fans to cheer this team on and put $$ in McJamie’s pockets so they can get us whatever we need at the deadline.

    Great start at home. But, it’s only a start. Let’s keep hitting and hope the back end of that rotation can keep getting quality starts.

  13. SpokaneBob says:

    Joe doesn’t like to jiggle the line up but I think Matt Kemp is hitting well enough to switch places with Martin. And I know Manny likes to hit 3rd, but Ethier would thrive hitting in the 3rd spot ahead of him. I wish Joe would give it a try.

    BTW….Anyone know why its J. Martin on Russel’s uni?

  14. lawdog says:

    It’s hard to argue that a guy who hits for the cycle should be moved o the back of the lineup and a guy who just hit two home runs will it better if he’s moved into that #2 spot behind Manny. Why to even consider it is felony stupid at the moment. Let’s see where everybody is in a month or two. I still feel O-rod is a consistent hitter who’ll hit over .300 whether he’s in the 2nd or the 7th or 8th slot. Ethier gets fooled by too many off speed pitches when he doesn’t hit in front of Manny. Bit if O-rod keeps smashing the ball hitting 2nd, and Ethier keeps hitting multiple home runs from lower in the order–well, I just might have to admit that I was actually wrong.

    Great columns Miguel! This is the kind of electric feeling I expected from the Dogs from the getgo.

  15. SpokaneBob says:

    Found it….

    Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin Jr…single…will wear the letter “J” on his back in addition to Martin this season in tribute to his mother’s side of the family, who’s last name is Jeanson…

  16. Roger says:

    I bet that the 17th pick that the Dodgers will loose in the draft for Hudson, just might be a close friend to Andy LaRoche. And that would drive Mark over the edge.

  17. DRomo says:

    I hope Mark is practicing push ups where ever he is!

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090413&content_id=4248980&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit

    Nice to see Precious Andy is consistant. He is out of the lineup “with a quickness”.

  18. lawdog says:

    I’d feel even better if I knew we had O-Rod and Manny for next year as well.

  19. Miguel Salcido says:

    lawdog, wouldn’t we all, right now that is. We still won’t know if O-Dog can maintain, or if Manny or him will come up limp. I think that we are in a great position right now, flexibility for both parties.

    Roger, I gave you a little tribute, http://dodgersbaseballnews.com/historic-opening-day-at-dodger-stadium-2009/, I was so inspired by yesterday’s game that I did another post. After all, good news is worth spreading right?

  20. lawdog says:

    Actually, if O-Rod’s wrist was going to fall off he wouldn’t have been able to turn in the sparkling defense he’s shown us so far. I think the man has adjusted to not being able to turn his wrist over to the upright position and is still the best defensive second baseman in the game.

    And I don’t think we need to worry about Manny joining Thome in Cleveland next year. No matter ow well Manny does this year, he’ll be one year closer to 40 next and that second year option will be looking pretty good to him, me thinks.

    If he has a monster year, we’ll sweeten it a little. But by the time he’s 40 he’ll belong in Cleveland where he can DH and play 3 more years. But Thome is 38, hitting .217 and hit .245 last year. Unless Cleveland want to establish a Geezer Squad and Manny won’t mind platooning at DH with Thome his comments about getting all the old farts who played together coming up sounds awful lame.

  21. DRomo says:

    Not to be the wet blanket here but remember last year Raffy was off to an incredible start and then got hurt AGAIN.

    O-Dog has had a good little stretch here. I hope he keeps it up, but lets see him finsh the season healthy, then talk about him getting a extension on his contract.

  22. Ken says:

    What a difference a day makes.

    Martin and O-Dog must have been reading the posts on this site. Not.

    Maybe what we all have been saying is just common sense items that the Dodger players were trying to figure out on their one.

    Just wish the coaches would push these guys a little sooner.

    In second place behind smoke and mirrors with 4 great hitters and 4 bad hitters. Here is to 8 above average hitters as the season goes forward.

  23. Roger says:

    Miguel, thanks for the spreading of the word of future Dodger history.

    Funny, with C-Bills pitching like he did yesterday, and the guys hitting like they did — and the other pitcher stepping up to the rubber and continuing the winning ways, this team could be one of the best in the majors this year.

    I know, there are serious questions: Can Wolf pitch all season without breaking down; Can Clayton not over throw and get himself into trouble; Can Kuroda stay healthya and keep winning; #5 starter, I am sure there will be several in the offering during the year — can the Dodgers will that?????

    The hitting coaches will have their hands full, in keep the hitters atuned to their mistakes and going for the base hits to all fields.

    I think this is the Dodgers year.

  24. Miguel Salcido says:

    Roger, I think that Honeycutt has his work cut out for him alot more than Donnie Baseball does! The pitching staff needs their coach ALOT more than the batting order does. You think that Manny, Raffy, Blake, or Hudson get advice from hitting coaches often, if at all? I don’t.

    But our new, and young, members of the pitching staff will need alot more managing and direction. Thank God that Honeycutt is actually pretty good about picking up in mechanical stuff!

  25. Jinny says:

    Hello,
    http://www.ladodgertalk.com – da best. Keep it going!

    Have a nice day
    Jinny

  26. Bill Russell says:

    I got a chance to sit next to Maury Wills for an inning during Spring training and I quizzed him about working with the players on stealing bases. His response was that he teaches the ones that want to learn. He never told me which ones didn’t want to learn but according to Maury there were a few. Any guesses on the ones that’s wouldn’t take Maury’s advice?

  27. Bill Russell says:

    Miquel, how is the edit button project going?

  28. Roger says:

    Migeul, you say: You think that Manny, Raffy, Blake, or Hudson get advice from hitting coaches often, if at all? I don’t.

    It is not them I am concerned about, it is the younger guys not listening: Kemp, Ethier, Martin, DeWitt, Loney —-

    Before Manny of last year coming the LA — some of these players just could not keep a rally going, not moving a player along, situational hitting was lacking.

    Not every game will be like opening day at Dodger Stadium this year.

    A manager can always change pitchers, heck we got 20 or 30 it seems in the pen . . . but when a hitter goes 0 for 4, 0 for 3, 1 for 5, 0 for 3 days after day — not only does the average drop, but runs are fewer and games are lost. Then words like, he is in a slump and will come out of it. Have that happen to several of them at once and to the bottom the team can go.

  29. Badger says:

    I think all hitters, if they are smart, (and the good ones are) will listen to suggestions from hitting coaches. Every hitter goes into slumps and hiting coaches can see little things and make suggestions that could help.

    I remember the first time I saw Mattingly hit. It was in batting practice and I could not believe how good he was. Every swing, every contact was a line drive somewhere. I had never seen anyone not miss at least once. He didn’t. I don’t care who you are, if you don’t listen to him, a former batting champion and MVP you are nuts.

  30. DRomo says:

    REPORT:
    D. Young to the Pirates for 2 players to be named later?

    Sorry to see PeeWee go but he had no place here. Anyone curious if they will try and send LaRoche back our way instead of clogging up their bench? They will however have to clear a roster spot for him. I wonder if they send LaRoche down to AAA?

  31. Ken says:

    DRomo

    A good push up bet might be who does better as a pinch hitter this year – Pewee or Eyechart.

    MS

    Your experience here should give you enough experience to hopefully replace Sarah at MLB.com permanently. Keep up the good work.

  32. Bill Russell says:

    LOL Romo you may be on to something.

  33. Bill Russell says:

    Ken, Hu is eyechart?

  34. Bill Russell says:

    Surprise, Tony Abreu is back on cruches. Mark and others were projecting him to start at 2B for us this year. What a blow.

  35. Ken says:

    Bill

    No. Issue – Keeping Mientkawietz over Young as the pinch hitting specialist.

  36. Miguel Salcido says:

    Mr. Russell, my guess is that Matt Kemp does not listen to Mr. Wills, who is one of THE most educated baseball men when it comes to the art of the stolen base.

    But even Rickey Henderson did it for years on sheer athletic ability alone. He was even more hard headed and prideful, but eventually he wised up and studied the art in order to improve.

    And there will be no “Edit” buttons for you clowns, but nice try. :-)

    Ken, shall we start a petition on my behalf? J/k, I know that alot of people give her a hard time. I do have to say that I used to kind of enjoy her really early stuff but it has since gone down hill. In other words, I’d love that position.

    I’ll be up in LA, on Saturday night after I spend the day moving my family, representing as a member of the press to preview Bluetopia, a documentary of the team and fans from the 2008 season. So I’ll see what I can do to lobby the Dodgers brass! I’ll also see if I can slip Russell some of the batting tips from our viewers.

  37. DRomo says:

    Great job MS!

    Has there been a bigger waste of time that Tony Abreu? How many years have we heard he was going to dazzle us in LA? Joe Thurston thinks Abreu is overhyped!!

    Hey Ken, as for the bet on who would be a better PH (PeeWee or Eyechart…I’m guessing that is Hu?) Do AAA stats count? Neither one will be in the bigs very long this season. I really liked D. Young, I think he will be a Matt Stairs type the rest of his career. The dude can just plain hit!

    Only one thing bothered me about Young. That is he was WAY too involved in the celebrations last year after we won the division and divisional series. Maybe I am too critical (I know I am) but how does a guy who didn’t contribute much act like such an ass during the celebration? Did you see Juan Pierre & Pablo Ozuna dancing on a dugout? Next time, Delwyn, know your role. Drink champagne or beer and watch the celebration. Then again you are going to Pittsburgh. There may not be a next time for you.

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