Dodgers’ opener painful to watch

January 11, 2020

first_img There was plenty of pregame pomp and festivities, but in the end a lot of bunting left hanging around another loss. “We’re glad it’s over with,” said Dodgers manager Grady Little. Mostly Little was glad the initial medical reports on outfielder Matt Kemp and right-hander Jason Schmidt were less than frightening. Little said before the game that Kemp and Andre Ethier were not in an official platoon in right field, but in competition for the full-time job. Some competitions last longer than others. Kemp has been off to a solid start, but in the fourth inning he chased a drive by Jeff Baker to the wall in right. The drive hit the wall at about the same time as Kemp. This is a new wall, one that oddly doubles as a scoreboard, or streamlined video board. The video board is about double the size of last season’s out-of-town scoreboard. It’s filled with stats and advertising, like the promise of “Oceans 13” coming June 8, or about the time I normally write off the Dodgers. It’s covered in plexiglass, which supposedly gives, but apparently not too much. Kemp hit an area that would have been padded last year — the padding added years ago after Darryl Strawberry separated his shoulder crashing into the wall. “I got hops like Jordan, I jumped so high,” Kemp said. Kemp hit the video wall with his right shoulder and fell in a clump. Pain flashed through his shoulder and he feared serious injury. “At first I thought it was worse than it was,” he said. Kemp left the game and was taken to a local hospital for X-rays. Seasons had gotten off to better starts. New Dodgers trainer, and former Giants trainer, Stan “No Relation” Conte said X-rays were negative, revealing no fractures or apparent dislocation, but more would be known today. Plexiglass problem Dodgers veteran second baseman Jeff Kent remained understandably skeptical about the logic of a video-board outfield wall. “I don’t know about that,” Kent said. “Plexiglass? That may have to go. “I don’t think guys are going to want to climb that.” Then in the top of the fifth, Nomar Garciaparra bobbled a Kazuo Matsui grounder for an error. Schmidt, covering first, immediately grabbed the back of his right hamstring after hitting the bag. Dodger hearts dropped. Schmidt, the Dodgers’ $47 million offseason acquisition, also left the game, though Conte later said the right-hander was simply dehydrated and cramped. Schmidt is expected to make his next start. “He’ll be fine,” Little said. Not quite together Schmidt both allowed and received his first Dodger home runs in the opener. He gave up a first-inning home run to Garrett Atkins, but then provided the Dodgers with their only power of the day, hitting a solo shot off Jeff Francis in the third. It was that kind of goofy, not-quite-together opener. Things got off to a less than auspicious start when the two F-16s from Edwards Air Force Base that were supposed to fly over as the climax of the opening ceremony flew over Dodger Stadium before the anthem was even sung. The Dodgers took the field with Wilson Valdez at shortstop for the injured Rafael Furcal and Ramon Martinez at third for Wilson Betemit. Betemit is healthy but erratic, and that Dodgers commitment to him at third lasted a whole five games. There were several small moments to make the Dodger faithful nervous – Juan Pierre unable to throw a runner out at the plate on a ball so shallow Kent almost could have gotten there; old Fred Claire project Rudy Seanez struggling in his L.A. relief return; a pair of errors; the middle of the lineup going 1 for 12. The crowd mostly sat quietly throughout all this, save for the nearly traditional fan running across the field in the eighth and being gang-tackled by security. Still, it was one game. The Dodgers had also lost their season opener at Milwaukee. For now at least, this messy opener business was behind them. For openers, better games await. Steve Dilbeck’s column appears in the Daily News four times a week. He can be reached at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! On a positive note, the Dodgers won’t have to experience a home opener the rest of the season. That may not spare them outfielders being eaten up by the expanded, all-color advertising/scoreboard walls, or pitchers limping off the field because they didn’t down enough sports drink, but at least they won’t have to suffer any more ignoble openers. Kids skipped school for this. Lawyers emptied downtown glass skyscrapers and billed phony hours for this. People fibbed and played hooky, and a few even legitimately took the day off for this. It’s an L.A. tradition. A local celebration. Dodgers and a weekday afternoon home opener. Only the Dodgers looked flat, lost the game 6-3 to the Rockies, lost two of their starting nine to injury and momentarily lost the momentum built after sweeping the evil Giants up north. Hey, but it was sunny and reasonably warm and the new parking scheme didn’t turn into Chavez Ravine road rage and they still served Dodger Dogs. Otherwise, on to the next one. The Dodgers never led this one, and the game was pretty much devoid of dramatics. They almost seemed to treat the opener as this little requirement that had to be dealt with before moving on to other things, like the other 80 home games. `Glad it’s over with’ last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *