"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief
"There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief."
-Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower
The Dodgers had a very frustrating week to open their season. The offense came alive, averaging six runs per game, but poor pitching undermined that effort, leading to a 2-4 start. The Dodger pitching struggles came from both the starters (4.96 ERA) and the bullpen (5.68), but the Dodgers still managed to outscore their opponents 36-33. The 2-4 record was a result of their 0-3 record in one-run games (none of which featured a Jonathan Broxton appearance), a turnaround from last season, when they had a 28-22 record in such games.
Dodger Batter of the Week: Russell Martin, who worked furiously during the spring to recover from his groin injury to be ready for opening day, was rewarded for his efforts with a stellar week, including a .611 on-base percentage. Last year, Martin didn't hit a home run until June 20, but this season he was the first Dodger to hit a long ball, with an opposite field shot on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. If you don't count the eighth inning sacrifice bunt Saturday night, Martin has reached base in six straight plate appearances.
Honorable mention goes to Ronnie Belliard, who made just two starts but had three hits in each one, and hit .500/.500/1.000 for the week.
Dodger Pitcher of the Week: The starting pitchers failed to pitch six innings in four of six starts, but the one ultra-bright beacon of hope came from Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda was in the zone Friday night in Florida, inducing ground ball after ground ball, when he wasn't striking people out, over his eight strong innings, and the only run he allowed was unearned.
Honorable mention goes to both Charlie Haeger, with his 12-strikeout performance today, and Ramon Troncoso, who welcomed a baby daughter into the world and also retired 12 of the 14 hitters he faced.
Week 1 Record: 2-4
36 runs scored (6.00 per game)
33 runs allowed (5.50 per game)
.540 pythagorean winning percentage
Using the Cycle to Stay Under 209: Ronnie Belliard had to weigh in at 209 pounds in spring training to guarantee his $825,000 contract this season, and he eventually did make weight on March 25. Right now, the Dodgers are glad he did. Belliard hit .500 for the week, and had a game for the ages Thursday in Pittsburgh, becoming just the eighth Los Angeles Dodger ever to hit a double, triple, and home run in the same game, missing the cycle by a mere single. Belliard's .685 slugging percentage as a Dodger is the highest in franchise history by anyone with at least 20 plate appearances.
Happy Birthday: A.J. Ellis learned of his impending recall from Albuquerque on Friday, his 29th birthday. One day later, Andre Ethier turned 28, and delivered a two-run pinch single in the eighth inning, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead.
One Good Turnaround: Last season, Andre Ethier struggled mightily against left-handed pitchers on the road, hitting just seven singles in 94 plate appearances, hitting .084/.191/.084. However, in his very first such at-bat this season, Ethier hit a double against southpaw Zach Duke of the Pirates.
One Bad Turnaround: George Sherrill allowed two runs as a Dodger last year, posting the best ERA (0.65) in the history of the Dodgers (minimum 20 innings), but allowed three runs in his very first appearance this year. Sherrill struggled mightily this week, allowing five runs and eight baserunners in just two innings of work.
Milestone Saturday: Rafael Furcal began Saturday's game in Florida with a double, which was the 1,500th hit of his career. Four innings later, Manny Ramirez hit a 40-foot dribbler for an infield hit for the 2,500th hit of his career.
A Bit Short, For Starters: Opening day starter Vicente Padilla improved from his first start to his second, but still managed to pitch just 4 1/3 innings in each game, allowing a total of 11 runs. Padilla is the only Opening Day starter in Los Angeles Dodger history to fail to pitch five innings in his first two starts of the season.
Opponent of the Week: Jorge Cantu of the Marlins made a late run at this award with seven runs batted in in the three-game series, but he didn't hold a candle to Garrett Jones of the Pirates. Jones blasted home runs in his first two plate appearances on Opening Day, and added a third home run in his first at-bat of the game number two for good measure.
Off to a Great Start...Again: Hiroki Kuroda has started each of his three seasons with the Dodgers with a road start. In each game, he gave up just one run, and in each game, he got the win. Combined, Kuroda has a 0.88 ERA in those three games.
Bad Things Happen in Threes: Last season, the Dodgers gave up just 11 three-run home runs all season, and never more than three in any single month. So far this season, they have given up four in six games. The fourth three-run shot allowed by the club last season didn't come until June 24.
A Well-Rested Crew: Thanks to an injury (to Ethier's ankle) and two day games following a night game, Joe Torre took the opportunity to rest many of his regulars. The opening day starting eight combined to make 38 out of 48 possible starts. With an off day Monday, Casey Blake, Martin, and Ramirez will each have started just four games in an eight-day span.
- Monday: The Dodgers waited until the last possible moment to purchase Russ Ortiz's minor league contract. A spot on the roster was created by placing Cory Wade on the 15-day disabled list.
- Saturday: For the first time in his 18-year career, Brad Ausmus was placed on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his back. A.J. Ellis was recalled from Triple A Albuquerque to take his place on the roster.
Upcoming Week: The Dodgers take Monday off, and will begin their home schedule with a pair of series against division rivals. Arizona comes to town first, followed by the Giants.
Week 1 Stats
*FIP is estimated