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.
I 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.
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.