LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers didn’t put up much of a threat offensively against Ty Blach and four Giants relief pitchers, falling 1-0 in their 2018 season opener.
The first five hitters in the Dodgers lineup — Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Kiké Hernandez and Cody Bellinger — combined to go 0-for-17 with three walks and eight strikeouts in the loss. Matt Kemp was hitless until his single to open the ninth inning.
“We didn’t do our job today, but we had our chances. Kershaw pitched his butt off, and did a great job. We have to at least score one run but couldn’t even do that,” Kemp said. “We hit some balls hard, right at people. Things didn’t go the way we wanted to. That’s baseball.”
The Dodgers struck out 10 times on Thursday, including five times looking. Watching strike three wasn’t out of the norm for the Dodgers in 2017; their 371 strikeouts looking were third most in the majors. But it was an issue in the opener, with several unhappy glances by Dodgers batters at home plate umpire Mark Wegner.
“I thought the strike zone, we weren’t synced up with the umpire. Blach was making pitches when he needed to, and uncharacteristically we punched out 10 times today,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We just couldn’t put at-bats together and create stress on their pitchers.”
Taylor watched a slider from Cory Gearrin for strike three to end the seventh inning, stranding the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring positions. Roberts said he thought that pitch was a strike and Taylor, though his reaction at the plate might have suggested otherwise had similar thoughts after the game.
#Dodgers Chris Taylor on called strike 3 in 7th: "It was right down the middle. I was angry at myself. I was thinking too much, I think. Taking a 2-strike slider down the middle is unacceptable."— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 30, 2018
The Dodgers on the night were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position with two strikeouts and a double play.
The Dodgers were able to keep the Giants at just one run thanks to their bullpen, a silver lining in the game, with J.T. Chargois, Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani each pitching a perfect inning and combining for four strikeouts.
“They threw the heck out of it. Their velocities were considerably up from spring training,” Roberts said. “The execution from all those guys was very good. It was certainly a positive.”
Per Gameday, Chargois averaged 95 mph on his fastball, with Fields at 93.7 and Cingrani at 94.3 mph.
Chargois, who made his first opening day roster, struck out two in the seventh inning. It was his first major league outing since Oct. 1, 2016 with Minnesota.
“You really never know what to expect from a guy who hasn’t pitched on this stage, opening day. He’s very excitable with youthful enthusiasm. We sort of threw him in the fire and he executed pitches. The stuff really plays,” Roberts said. “From what I’ve seen so far there’s a lot of emotion but he’s shown he can channel it in the right way.”
“It’s very exciting but I’m here to do a job,” Chargois said. “I was executing pitches and it’s fun doing that.”
The Dodgers and Giants are back at it Friday night for a 7:10 p.m. PT start, with Alex Wood on the mound against Johnny Cueto for San Francisco.