The Padres sent Joe Wieland to the mound at Dodger Stadium to make his major league debut, and the 22-year old ran into the buzzsaw that is Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier Saturday night. The dynamic duo backed a brilliant Ted Lilly in the Dodgers' 6-1 victory over San Diego, for their fifth straight win.
The Dodgers are 8-1, the best record in baseball, and their best start since opening the 1981 campaign 9-1. They have beaten the Padres eight consecutive times in Los Angeles.
Kemp greeted Wieland with a two-run home run to dead center field in the first inning, and Ethier followed with a solo shot in a four-run opening frame.
It was the first time Kemp and Ethier hit back-to-back home runs since April 16, 2010 against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. That game was not only memorable for being the final game for Russ Ortiz as a Dodger, but also for then-giant Eugenio Velez hitting a three-run home run.
Velez has five hits in 80 at-bats since then.
Kemp added another two-run home run in the second inning and had three hits on the night. Kemp on the season is putting up video game numbers through nine games: .457/.474/.971 with five home runs, 15 RBI, and 12 runs scored.
I wanted to see how far back to go and still have Kemp average an RBI per game, and the answer was last August 10. In his last 57 games, Kemp has 18 home runs, 57 RBI, 60 runs scored, and has hit .358/.421/.664 during that span.
Ethier has been no slouch himself, with three home runs and 14 RBI in nine games, hitting .303/.395/.697, a sort of under the radar 1.092 OPS.
Those six runs in the first two innings were more than enough to support Lilly, who was magnificent in his 2012 debut. He allowed a two-out RBI single to Jesus Guzman in the first inning to plate an unearned run, but then proceeded to retire 20 of the final 22 batters he faced.
In Lilly's first start as a Dodger, on August 3, 2010 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium, he allowed a first inning run then nothing else, and ended up pitching seven innings, allowing two hits, and one run.
Tonight, again against the Padres at Dodger Stadium, Lilly allowed a first inning run, then ended up pitching seven innings, allowing two hits, and one run.
The Dodgers have won six straight games at Dodger Stadium, and 10 of their last 11 home games. The Dodgers are 19-5 in their last 24 games at Chavez Ravine.
Home Runs: Matt Kemp 2 (5), Andre Ethier (3)
WP - Ted Lilly (1-0): 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Joe Wieland (0-1): 5 IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout