Friday, April 29, 2022

Games 19-21 Thread: April 29 - May 1 vs. Tigers

Fri 4/29 7p: Anderson vs. Alexander
Sat 4/30 7p: Kershaw vs. Brieske
Sun 5/1 1p: Buehler vs. Ed. Rodriguez

The Tigers enter this series with a 6-11 record. Which is about what the Diamondbacks were sporting before last series, when the Dodgers' offense rolled over and played dead. Let's see if these visiting Tigers are any tamer?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Post-Game 18 Thread: Snake-bit


I'm posting this only because I figure the Dodger faithful might need a spot to vent. We dropped two of three in Arizona to the lowly Diamondbacks, thanks to an overall lack of hitting (one run scored in the last 17 innings), not to mention three errors in the field. The worst of the fielding errors was on Tuesday from Gavin Luxe (deliberately spelled with an extra "e" after botching a throw that sent two runs home and paved the way for a third). But errors from Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy didn't help any in Wednesday's loss, either.

I'm salty. Let's take the day off, shall we?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

ESPN Boldly Predicts A 5-WAR Season From Bellinger

Credit ESPN for some spicy takes, but man, this one is pretty bold:

Cody Bellinger will be a 5-WAR player for the Dodgers.

Alden Gonzalez: I don't know if we'll ever again see the Cody Bellinger who terrorized pitchers through the first half of the 2019 season, but I also don't know that we need to. Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP and amazingly one of the worst hitters in the sport in 2021, will settle into who he is this year -- a high-impact player who will at times look dominant and at times, perhaps briefly, look lost. Sunday's two-homer, two-strikeout afternoon offered a perfect snapshot. Through his first 15 games, Bellinger had four home runs, three stolen bases and a .915 OPS, but also 20 strikeouts in 60 at-bats. He brings elite power and speed, not to mention strong defense at a premium position, but he also strikes out a lot. The Dodgers will take that.

Why it's mild: We get it, Bellinger was really bad last season. But he also has an NL MVP Award and is 26 years old. Combine that with the fact that Bellinger is off to exactly the start the Dodgers were hoping he would have, as you mentioned. With that in mind, we're just not sure how much heat predicting Belli becomes Belli again actually carries.

Just as context, in last year's campaign, Max Muncy led the Dodgers with a 4.9 WAR (Mookie Betts was 4.2; Corey Seager was 3.7). Walker Buehler had a 6.6 WAR to lead pitchers, but Bellinger isn't compared against pitchers.

In the World Series championship 2020 season, Betts led the Dodgers with a 3.6 WAR. I suppose that number would be a lot higher spread over a 162-game season, but that would assume Betts' pace could be maintained that long.

In 2017, Justin Turner had a 5.6 WAR and Seager had a 5.3 WAR. Bellinger was a 3.9 WAR.

To be fair, Bellinger had a 8.6 WAR in 2019, his MVP year. Could he get to 5 WAR in 2022? Seems a little bold.

Oh, and old friend Manny Machado leads the majors in WAR as of today, with a 1.7.

photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

Monday, April 25, 2022

Post-Game 16 Thread: Walker Buehler: MLB's First CG SHO In Eight Months

Buehler deals, Snakes heel.


Walker Buehler has been good but not great this year: 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA entering this game. But in his fourth start, Buehler dazzled, pitching the majors' first complete game shutout since September 2021. His line: 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB and 10 Ks. Buehler's ERA dropped to 2.55.

Just: wow. Way to go, Buehler!

Now on the downside: apparently it was the highest pitch count of anyone this year (as per Joe Davis' call), at 108 pitches. And I'm a little surprised Doc Roberts let Buehler go so long into the game, given his penchant for the early hook, not to mention keeping the starters really protected this season given the lockout-shortened spring. So I guess we'll have to see how Buehler pitches in his next outing, which (with the day off), wouldn't roll aournd until Sunday May 1 vs. the Tigers at home.

The Dodgers got on the board early, using only nine pitches to have Mookie Betts walk, Freddie Freeman double Betts over to third, and Trea Turner double both runners home. Max Muncy, who started the game with a 3-0 count that he worked back into a strikeout (groan), doubled in Betts for another run in the fifth. And Will "Slappy" Smith hit a solo shot to center in the eighth that notched the Dodgers' final run of the game.

Only Justin Turner (0-for-4) and Cody Bellinger (0-for-3) were hitless in the Dodgers' lineup; both players had one K. At this point, one-tenth of the way through the season, only Muncy is sub-Mendoza. But Justin Turner and Mookie Betts are barely above .200 (.203, each), so we've still got a way to go to get this whole team humming.

And as a reminder, the Game Thread for this @Diamondbacks series is here.

photo: AP / Matt York

Cody Bellinger, NL Player of the Week (April 18-24)

Congratulations, Cody! Boy, I wasn't counting on your bat this year, certainly after last year's debacle and this year's spring training. Really hoping that this is a great sign of things to come in 2022!

(Cody did go 0-for-4 tonight in Arizona, but I'm still staying positive.)

Games 16-18 Thread: April 25-27 @ D'backs

Yeah, we've used this theme before, I'm sure of it.

Mon 4/25 6.40p: Buehler (1-1, 4.02) vs. Kelly (1-0, 0.59)
Tue 4/26 6.40p: Gonsolin (1-0, 0.69) vs. Davies (1-1, 5.02)
Wed 4/27 12.40p: Urias (1-1, 3.00) vs. Gallen (0-0. 1.00)

Snakes in the desert, never a good sign. And the Diamondbacks are 6-10 this season but they're throwing two starters with pretty good ERAs against us this series. We do miss the opportunity to reunite with former Giants curmudgeon and current D'backs starter Madison Bumgarner, though, as he took the start Sunday in a losing effort to the Mets. The Diamondbacks' effort in tha Mets series, in which Arizona lost two of three, was called "sloppy".

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are serving up their 1-2-3 in their starting rotation, even if two of them don't have ERAs you'd expect given the small sample sizes. It's an observation that LAT columnist Dylan Hernandez also made in today's column, set to the tune of an 1980's Howard Jones song. Woah, woah, woah, oh, oh ohh-ohh.

So ahead of this series: do you feel scared? Well, I do. But I won't stop and falter.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Post-Game 15 Thread: Belli Bombing Again; Padres Can Only Watch and Shudder

I remember this Cody Bellinger. It's been a while.


The Dodgers slammed the Padres today early and often, cruising to a 10-2 victory off the back of two Cody Bellinger homers that amassed 4 RBI between them. The Dodgers scored 18 runs in the weekend series @ Petco Park, versus the Padres' six runs. True, the Padres stole a victory on Saturday in extras, 3-2. But a series victory is still a series victory, especially on the road (though there were many Dodgers fans in attendance for all three games, which was cool to see and hear). And the Dodgers' run differential of +44 is higher than any other team in the majors, including the Giants, who are only in the mix because of Gabe Kapler's unsportsmanlike penchant for running up the score.

But enough about teams who didn't advance in the 2021 NLDS.

This Post-Game Thread is about the Dodgers, whose dominance today was again very well rounded. Freddie Freeman added a two-run HR of his own in the third. Mookie Betts went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Chris Taylor all had RBI. And even Hanser Alberto got a hit.

The Dodgers didn't violate any unwritten rules, either. Clayton Kershaw started and went the minimum five innings (third win of the season), and his three Ks today put him three strikeouts away from tying Don Sutton for the Dodgers franchise lead in strikeouts. The Dodgers trotted a number of relievers out there including Reyes "Good Times" Moronta and newly-recalled Garrett Cleavinger, and only Justin Bruihl yielded an earned run. And the Dodgers gave Edwin Rios and Zach McKinstry some playing time in the seventh inning, with the Dodgers nursing a 10-1 lead which had the game way out of reach.

Because that's the way you play the game.

Cody Bellinger is batting .273 this season with a .915 OPS, second only to Freeman. This is not what I expected from Bellinger. What a pleasant surprise.

No rest for the weary; the Dodgers take their MLB-leading record to Arizona for three games.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Games 13-15 Thread: April 22-24 @ Padres

Dirty play, from a team whose colors are yellow and brown.

Fri 4/22 6.40p: Julio Urias vs. Nick Martinez
Sat 4/23 6.40p: Tyler Anderson vs. Yu Darvish
Sun 4.24 1.10p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Sean Manaea

The Dodgers venture to Petco Park with the majors' best record (9-3), one game ahead of the Padres (9-5); the Dodgers also have the highest run differential (+32) in the league. But these are the Padres, who flamed out at the end of 2021 and then fired manager Jayce Tingler, and then started the season with star Fernando Tatis Jr. on the 60-day IL after breaking his wrist in the Dominican Republic this off-season (Tatis is now tending to this injury by playing soccer with teammates, including slipping and falling on his good wrist).

With these headwinds, the Padres have decided to come out in 2022 and play like...thugs. Just ask Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, who was chop-blocked into a concussion at the plate by Padre Luke Voit, clearly playing dirty. Yep, these are the Padres: beautiful ballpark, but unsightly play inside.

On Friday, I have no doubt that the Pads will try to rough up Urias (coming off a great start last week (5.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 5 Ks and 1 BB)). Saturday, Tyler Anderson gets the nod with Andrew Heaney hitting the Dodgers' 10-day IL, thanks to a great outing by Tony Gonsolin Wednesday that did not require an Anderson bailout. And then we wrap up with Kershaw on Sunday.

Also, very eager to see if Cody Bellinger's newfound contact hitting is a trend, or just a blip. And hoping that Mookie Betts and Max Muncy can break out of their slumps in this series.

Otherwise, let's just stay healthy this series.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Post-Game 12 Thread: Catman: Do! Dodgers Take Series From Braves

Tony Gonsolin was the man today, but Jon SooHoo got another epic shot.


Tony Gonsolin has been the Dodgers' weakest starter this year, lasting only three innings in his first start, and then four innings in the second start--both of which needed to be backed up by Tyler Anderson in long relief. Today, coming off the news that Anderson would be slotted for Saturday's game, filling in for an injured Andrew Heaney, Catman got serious and got to work.

Gonsolin punished the Braves' bats today, giving up no hits through his first five innings, yielding a solitary hit to Manny Pina in the sixth inning. What's more, Gonsolin's six frames took only 83 pitches, which is more than any of his first two outings, but not too many more. With 3 BB and 3 Ks on the day, Gonsolin's ERA now sits at 0.69 across 13 innings of work.

And then there's that Freddie Freeman guy. His hugs and tears with former teammates grabbed the spotlight for the series opener on Monday. And Kenley Jansen, who also got commemorative gifts on Monday from his former team, got some of the focus on Tuesday when he earned the ninth-inning save over the Dodgers.

But on Wednesday, it was back to Freeman, who hit his second HR of the year (and the series). Traditional angle:

And check out this alternative angle cut:

Plus, Cody Bellinger is slowly coming back from the dead! Maybe. He's slowly worked his average back to .279, including a RBI triple as well as his third double of the year, both off of salty Braves starter Charlie Morton. Bellinger seems to have stopped overswinging with the whole corkscrew stance, and the results seem pretty smooth:

On the downside, Max Muncy is still languishing at .128 and Mookie Betts is at .178. But if Bellinger can pick up the pace, we can afford to be more patient with both of them.

All in all, a great 6-1 homestand, the Dodgers' first homestand of the year. I was happy to get to one game this homestand. Can't wait for the next visit to the Stadium!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Games 10-12 Thread: April 18-20 vs. Braves

Okay, someone is excited for this next series.

Mon 4.18 7p: Clayton Kershaw vs. Ynoa
Tues 4.19 7p: Walker Buehler vs. Fried
Wed 4.20 12n: Tony Gonsolin vs. Morton

The Dodgers see if their 7-2 record stands up against their first playoff-contending opponent in 2022. On the positive side, we know these Braves pretty well:

And then something else with the Braves might have happened in 2021, but it was all a blur after the Chris Taylor walk-off HR victory in the Wild Card Game, and then that epic NLDS Game 5 victory to vanquish the Giants.

So for 2022, what has changed between the Dodgers and Braves?

Well for one thing, there's this guy:

Former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is now with the Braves. He's 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in four games, driven by a difficult first outing against the Braves where he gave up three ER. Since then, he's been lights out: three appearances with 4 Ks across the three games; two saves. Jansen's K/BB ratio is 5.00, right on par with his career average; and his 11.3 K/9 ratio is exactly in line with 2021.

And then, there's this guy:

Former Braves slugger Freddie Freeman is now with the Dodgers. He's 12-for-37 this year across all nine games with 4 RBI (three of which came yesterday!). Freeman's OPS+ of 125 this year is below his career average of 138, but so far he's got no HR (three doubles are his only XBH), though to be fair he only had 13 HR in his 2020 MVP season (Freeman has hit 30+ HRs three times in his career, including in 2021).

I'm very interested to see how Jansen and Freeman fare in this series, facing familiar friends now from the other side. We start the series with Kershaw, coming off his seven innings of perfect pitching. LET'S GO, DODGERS!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Games 8 + 9 Thread: April 16 + 17 vs. Reds

Sat 4.16 7p: Urias vs. Greene
Sun 4.17 1p: Heaney vs. Mahle

Okay, I know I'm all over the place with these Game Threads for this Opening Series. Sorry about that! I am finding it more fun to be posting content (and for this homestand, I surprisingly have a bit more time to spend writing it), so I'm going to break this opening series thread up into multiple posts. I don't think this pace is sustainable, but who the heck knows.

Speaking of unsustainable paces, the Dodgers have now won four in a row and seem to be rolling. Even when the Dodgers can't string enough hits at opportune times--the Dodgers were 2-for-11 on Friday night, with 9 LOB--they still score enough to earn the win. It was heartening that the Dodgers scored in three of their eight frames on Friday, as the Dodgers had scored in three or more innings in only one other game this year. Yeah, I'd love for us to put more than a fencepost on the board each frame, but on Friday, those three fenceposts held up for a victory Friday,

So we've got two more games against the Reds this series, after winning the first two games. Let's go, Dodgers.

As mentioned in the original series thread, Sax and Orel will be there at the Stadium on Sunday, so give a shout out if you will be there, and maybe we can all grab a beer or twelve.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Happy Jackie Robinson Day (And Game 7 Thread)

Across the majors, they will be commeomorating the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's MLB debut. All players will wear a Dodger Blue #42 on their backs, as well as a #42 sleeve patch. Rachel Robinson will be on hand for tonight's Dodger game, and manager Dave Roberts will host a ceremony with the full Dodgers team at Jackie Robinson's statue.

I had posted a Series Thread for tonight's Reds @ Dodgers game (7p), Tony Gonsolin vs. Vladimir Gutierrez, here--but what the heck, let's use this one.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Post-Game 6 Thread: Slappy Delivers The Home Opener Victory

Slappy pummeling Mr. Red


Saving what was heading toward a disastrous loss, "Slappy" Will Smith banged an eighth-inning, three-run HR to give the Dodgers a 7-3 lead (Trea Turner had just given the Dodgers a 4-3 lead on an RBI single, but Smith's blast put this out of reach). Ironically, Slappy's shot went off the top of the wall, and then hit the glove of the Reds fielder before bouncing back over the wall (just watched the highlight), so that was indeed "out of reach". In that bottom of the eighth frame, the Dodgers kept on rolling, sending 11 men to the plate and scored six runs.

Also congratulations to Freddie Freeman, whose double to leadoff the eighth not only led the charge, but also gave Freeman a well-deserved ovation and chant from the crowd:

It was an impressive awakening after sleeping through six straight scoreless frames, especially after opening up the game with a first inning that saw five hits and three runs and chased the Reds starter, Luis Cessa. But the Dodgers then looked absent from the second through seventh innings, allowing the Reds to claw their way back to a tie game, off of two home runs across the sixth and seventh innings. So it was amazing to come back and give the sellout crowd a win.

Walker Buehler lasted 5.2 innings and gave up that first HR, a two-run shot to Aristedes Aquino. David Price, who relieved Buehler, yielded the second HR. But the offensive outburst in the bottom of the eighth put this game away.

Dodgers move to 4-2 and now sit tied for first place in the NL West, along with everyone else except Arizona. Jackie Robinson Day is tomorrow, so let's go!

Home Opener Game Thread (Game 6): April 14 vs. Reds

Thu 4.14 7p: Buehler vs. Sanmartin

The Reds are 2-4 in this short season, but worse than that, their team president and COO is in a spat with Reds fans telling them that their pared-down roster is justified and "to be careful what you wish for" with regards to fans' requests to sell the team. Yeah, that's endearing.

But we've got problems of our own here in Dodgertown. Julio Urias and his 13.50 ERA looked lost in his first start. Max Muncy and "Slappy" Will Smith are each batting below .200.

Oh, and for all of you trying to support the Dodgers on this first homestand: greedy Frank McCourt raised parking from $20 to $25 per game.

Thanks for the fan appreciation, Frank!

At least we have Jackie Robinson Day on Friday April 15:

Sax and Orel will be there Sunday, so give a shout out if you're going to this first series!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Post-Game 5 Thread: Dodgers #5 Starter Ks 13, Perfect Through Seven Innings


One night after a rain-delayed 7-2 victory that was nip and tuck until a six-run top of the eighth inning, the Dodgers sent their #5 starter to the mound against a tableau where no other starting pitcher had lasted more than five innings all season.

Except this #5 starter was Clayton Kershaw.

And these were the Minnesota Twins. Without Carlos Correa in the lineup, as Correa was busy scheming other ways to cheat (and, dealing with a hangnail issue).

Kershaw dealt 13 Ks over seven frames and was pulled after only 80 pitches, withthe Dodgers nursing a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the eighth.

Fans are pissed off thst Kershaw was pulled, and I get it. But Kershaw himself said on the post-game show that it was the right decision and his slider had lost its bite the last two innings. Not to mention, he isn't stretched out given the lockout, and it was 38 degrees out there today. I am cool with the decision.

We had 5 LOB through two frames and had notched three runs, but the middle frames were scoreless, before we opened up the eighth inning with consecutive HR from Cody Bellinger (whaaaaaaat?), Gavin Lux, and Austin Barnes, the latter of whom regained his lead atop the Dodgers 2022 HR board (with two).

Dereck Rodriguez was the victim of these three HR, two of which (Bellinger's and Lux's) ended up in the same spot, in deep right-center. It was a pretty cool show of offense from a team that hasn't had many outbursts yet this year, certainly not vs. expectations. And Max Muncy added a solo shot in the ninth to raise his average to .118.

Really good to see Muncy and Bellinger get good swings on the ball, for one of the few times this year. As it is, Muncy and Will Smith are the only starters below .200 so far this year. Chris Taylor went 0-for-5 with 2 Ks (Lux had 3Ks today), and dropped his average to .313.

Alex Vesia relieved Kershaw for the seventh and gave up a one-out single, but that was the only hit the Twins had in the shutout loss (Justin Bruihl had a scoreless ninth).

But the story today was clearly Clayton Kershaw, who now has as many Ks as our other four starters, combined (Walker Buehler and Andrew Heaney with five each; Tony Gonsolin with 3; Julio Urias with a goose egg). Dodgers come back to home for four with the Reds and then three with Kenley Jansen's Braves. Good to be back above .500, though we're still third in the division and one game out of first pending tonight's results.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Series Thread (Games 4-5): April 12-13 @ Twins

4.12 4.40p: Andrew Heaney vs. Chris Archer
4.13 10.10a: Clayton Kershaw vs. Chris Paddack

Aren't these twins cute?* Except the Dodgers are facing a different group of Twins, who re-stocked their last-place lineup with cheater Carlos Correa as well as former San Diego Padre Chris Paddack (whom the Dodgers see on Wednesday). Wednesday would also mark the 2022 debut of Clayton Kershaw, on whose shoulders we could be leaning to get us back above .500 (assuming we win Tuesday, that is).

(*) I know, you expected me to put up a different type of photo to accompany this post. See how much we've matured here at SoSG? Well, not really. But for this particular picture, yes.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Archiving the 2021 SoSG Attendance Record, for Posterity

Yeah, it's that time to clean up the sidebar, before our first homestand of the 2022 season.

SoSG 2021 Record: 4-3 regular season; 3-1 postseason

5/29 vs. SF (Orel, Sax): L, 6-11
5/31 vs. STL (AC): W, 9-4
6/24 vs. CHC (Sax): L, 0-4
6/26 vs. CHC (Sax): W, 3-2
7/22 vs. SF (Sax): L, 3-5
8/29 vs. NYM (Sax): W, 4-1
10/2 vs. MIL (Orel, Sax): W, 8-3

2021 Playoffs
10/6 WC G1 vs. STL (AC): W, 3-1
10/11 NLDS G3 vs. SF (Sax): L, 0-1
10/12 NLDS G4 vs. SF (Sax): W, 7-2
10/19 NLCS G3 vs. ATL (Sax): W, 6-5

Prior SoSG attendance records: 2008 (18-15), 2009 (21-10), 2010 (9-8), 2011 (10-7), 2012 (24-18), 2013 (24-16), 2014 (22-12), 2015 (27-13), 2016 (10-5), 2017 (27-13) 2018 (12-9), 2019 (10-5), 2020 (0-0).

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Post-Game 3 Thread: Dodgers Start 2022 Season With A Series Loss To Lowly Colorado


I was worried about the Dodgers after Game 1. But after today's loss, starting our 2022 campaign with a series loss in Colorado, evidences why all this talk of dominance is pretty premature.

The Dodgers' bats have been entirely mortal in the first place. But they aren't anywhere near as good as necessary to compensate for weaknesses in starting pitching, when neither Tony Gonsolin nor Julio Urias can reach the fourth inning. Yesterday was Catman-doodoo, with Gonsolin giving up one earned run and five hits in 3.0 IP and 62 pitches. His subpar performance didn't doom the game though, not when Austin Barnes (a) drops a pinpoint throw from Mookie Betts in right to allow a Rockies run; (b) fails to advance on the basepaths on a Freddie Freeman deep fly to center, costing the Dodgers a critical run in an eventual 3-2 loss; and (c) calls for a Blake Treinen cutter on Connor Joe in the eighth, which was crushed to left for a game-winning HR. Barnes hit a solo HR earlier in the game, but whatever.

And then today, Urias gave up six runs before the Dodgers even got on the board (in the top of the fourth). Sure, five of the Rockies' nine runs were unearned, thanks to errors galore by the Dodgers, suffering in the gusty winds on the field. But it was those same gusty winds that led to the majority of the Dodgers' runs, as three of those runs were gift-wrapped by Kris Bryant, who dropped a Freeman fly out, clearing the bases. The score really wasn't as close as it appeared.

So let's look at the batting averages of this dominant Dodgers lineup, through three games:

  • Mookie Betts .214
  • Freddie Freeman .167
  • Trea Turner .231
  • Max Muncy .067
  • Justin Turner .231
  • Will Smith .167
  • Cody Bellinger .182
  • Chris Taylor .571
  • Gavin Lux .375

Aside from CT3 and Gavin, we look awful. And Cody got two hits today--call for the parade--but those were his first of the year (he also has 3 Ks in 11 AB). Small sample size. But if there was anywhere I'd expect more output, it's in Colorado.

Monday is a day off, and then we play two at the delightfully frigid Target Field in Minneapolis (projected to be 54 degrees with a high chance of rain).

Friday, April 08, 2022

Post-Game 1 Thread: Opening Day Win, But Not Dominance


The Dodgers spoiled the Rockies' Opening Day at Coors Field, jumping out to a lead in the fourth inning off the back of five two-out runs. The five runs held up even though new closer Craig Kimbrel allowed one run in earning the save; Walker Buehler got the win with five innings of two-run ball (2 BB, 5 Ks).

I know, I should be thrilled. But I'm not.

This is a Dodgers team that is supposed to dominate the NL West and roll to the World Series, and against a hapless Colorado squad they looked positively mortal. With the exception of that top of the fourth, the Dodgers' vaunted offense had some apparent weaknesses, starting with Cody Bellinger (in the eight-hole, 0-for-4 with 5 LOB). Bellinger also swung at the first pitches of his first two ABs and looked immature and unprepared. Surpassing Bellinger was Justin Turner, 0-for-5 with 5 LOB of his own, but for some reason I still feel better about JT than I do about Belli.

If there's one thing that did seem clear, it is that when the Dodgers bats decide to get hot, it's like a tsunami--the wave comes fast and all you can do is run. Rockies starter Kyle Freeland couldn't make it out of the inning after giving up a two-out, two-run single to Gavin Lux, followed by an RBI double to Mookie Betts and a walk to Freddie Freeman. Tyler Kinley came in and gave up a Trea Turner RBI single, scoring Betts, and then wild-pitched Freeman in from third, to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. Justin Turner Kd for the final out of the frame, but the damage was done: five runs, nine batters, and a 2-0 lead evaporated in a snap. And all this happened with two outs; the Rockies didn't know what hit them.

Nor did Gavin Lux, who scored from first on Betts' double to take the 3-2 lead. If we can have Lux hit like this from the bottom of the order, it's quite an asset to flip the lineup back up top again to Mookie. But someone has got to teach Gavin how to slide:

That hurts just watching it.

The rest of the game, though, the Dodgers' offense left ducks on the pond (bases loaded in the fifth; one on in the sixth) and then went silent for the last three frames. The game kinda felt like we needed another run or two (especially in Coors Field), which luckily we didn't. But after seeing Kimbrel's unorthodox delivery and slight danger after giving up two doubles in the frame (reminded me a lot of Kenley Jansen!), the lead held up.

From this one performance, it's not clear if Kimbrel is going to resemble the lights-out closer that was with the Cubs in the first half of the season, or the ballooned-ERA that the White Sox had at the end of 2021. Luckily, the rest of the bullpen was lights-out, bridging the sixth through eighth innings with nary a scratch.

It's a long season. Let's go get 'em tomorrow.

UPDATE 10.10p: Of course, LAT's Bill Plaschke thought the Dodgers were great today.. Given his experience making predictions, that's another ominous sign.

Opening Series Thread (Games 1-3): April 8-10 @ Rockies

Fri Apr 8 1p: Buehler vs. Freeland
Sat Apr 9 5p: Gonsolin vs. Marquez
Sun Apr 10 12n: Urias vs. Senzatela

Opening Day 2022! And with all the talk of the Dodgers' vaunted offense (with many starters batting below Mendoza levels this spring, but hey, it's spring training), some have forgotten that we have a lot of holes in our starting pitching. So Tony Gonsolin gets the start in game #2 in batter-friendly Coors Field, followed by Julio Urias who ended up his 2022 Spring Training season getting shellacked by the Angels. At least we have Walker Buehler, picked by ESPN to win the 2022 NL Cy Young Award, leading off the series on Opening Day.

Let's do this!