This is the second installment of an ongoing series, where me and my dad will simulate each game on the Dodgers schedule until real Dodger baseball returns. Read Part 1 here! Thanks all for the comments and support!
Welcome back! With Game 1 in the books and an undefeated 1-0 start for the boys in blue, we set our sights to Game 2, where Walker Buehler will face off against Johnny Cueto. Besides our hopes for a 2-0 start to the season and an opening series win against the Giants, there’s one other very important thing we’re paying attention to today — the severity of Clayton Kershaw’s injury. There’s no guarantee we’ll find out the diagnosis after today’s game (I’m honestly not sure how long the game takes to diagnose injuries), but here’s hoping it’s nothing serious.
This time we recorded the action live! Watch it here or scroll below to find out what happened:
Buehler, who many of you will remember was the default selection for our opening day starter, opened the game with back-to-back strikeouts and a 1-2-3 first inning. After striking out Mike Yastrzemski to lead off the second, however, Evan Longoria reached base on a 2-2 single and Brandon Crawford sent a liner down the left field line for an RBI double and a 1-0 Giants lead.
The two starters then settled into a groove, with both Buehler and Cueto reliably delivering 1-2-3 innings with multiple strikeouts. Besides the Crawford double, Buehler’s only real misstep was three hit batters — he finished the game with seven innings pitched, the one earned run, seven strikeouts, no walks and just three hits allowed.
In the bottom of the seventh, Cueto was still holding onto his shutout, facing the bottom part of the order. After Joc Pederson struck out on a 1-2 count, we were expecting the very same from Will Smith when he squared up on 1-2. Instead, Smith sent a towering fly ball to center field, clearing the wall and tying the game with a solo home run. For some reason, OOTP determined this was an inside-the-park home run despite very clearly going over the wall, with no throw back into the infield. But we’ll take it!
Blake Treinen came out of the bullpen for us for the second game in a row, retiring Donovan Solano, Johnny Cueto (more on that in a second) and Billy Hamilton in order in the eighth.
Despite Smith’s home run, Giants manager Gabe Kapler decided to have Cueto hit for himself in the eighth and go back out there to pitch, mimicking his odd decision to have Kevin Gausman throw a complete game in the Game 1 loss. Even with a Justin Turner single, however, Cueto was able to get out of it and bring a tied game to the ninth.
At this point, there were some friendly disagreements between the two-headed manager/general manager team about who to warm up and bring in for the ninth inning. I was in favor of Kenley Jansen, but my dad convinced me to bring in Scott Alexander, with two lefties due up for the Giants. Kapler elected to pinch hit a righty for one of them, but Alexander nevertheless retired the side to keep the game tied heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Cueto was finally relieved in the ninth in favor of Tony Watson, who gave up a single to Corey Seager to start the inning. Next up was Joc Pederson, who we probably would have pinch hit for if we had taken a second to think about it, but he simply flew out to second on the first pitch instead. Smith followed up with another towering shot to center — but this one was caught by Hamilton.
With two outs and Gavin Lux up, we considered bringing in Chris Taylor to hit against the lefty, but we let the rookie have a shot. He rewarded us with a single to advance Seager to second, bringing up the pitcher’s spot (and Taylor this time, for real). Taylor hit a single of his own, a hard-hit ball to shallow left field, and Seager was not able to advance to home, loading the bases with two outs for Mookie Betts.
Reader, I thought this was the time Mookie would come through for us, after a disappointing 0-4 Game 1 and yet another 0-4 start to this one. I was wrong, as he grounded out to second base, extending his hitless streak and bringing us to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, I won out and got to bring Jansen in against Longoria, Crawford and Buster Posey. After striking out Longoria, Kenley threw eight straight balls to Crawford and Posey, putting runners on first and second with one out and giving me many, many nerves about what would happen next. Fortunately, he induced a double play out of Donovan Solano, ending the inning and sending us into the bottom of the tenth.
Max Muncy, one of our only consistent offensive threats through two games, led off the inning with an infield single. Justin Turner struck out, and Bellinger (also hitless so far this season) flew out to deep right field, advancing Muncy to second.
Next up was Corey Seager, who smashed a home run to right-center field, winning the game 3-1 and clinching a series win.
See it yourself (apologies for the frame rate drop in the video):
Another sloppy win, but we’ll take it, as it guarantees a series win in the opening 3-game stretch against the Giants. Jansen gets his first win of the year, while Trevor Gott gets his first loss.
Here’s the box score:
And on the Kershaw injury front, there is unfortunately no new news. Our medical staff continues to diagnose the injury, and hopefully we’ll hear sooner rather than later that it’s not too bad. But if it does sideline him for a significant amount of time, we’ll be putting Alex Wood back into the starting rotation.
Some things we’re keeping an eye on as we move forward to the final game of the three-game series tomorrow:
- Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger are a combined 0-17 with six strikeouts. Will either of them get on-base this series?
- The Giants will have a righty pitching in Game 3 (Jeff Samardzjia), but we’re considering starting A.J. Pollock or Chris Taylor in left and giving Joc Pederson a day off. What do you think?
- David Price will pitch the final game of the series for us, and we need him to go relatively deep in the game. Treinen and Jansen both pitched in each of the first two games of the series, and we will be restricting ourselves to Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro and Joe Kelly out of the bullpen.
Thanks for reading! Let’s bring out those brooms for a sweep tomorrow.
Should we bench Joc Pederson for Game 3?
This poll is closed
Yes, put in Pollock
Yes, put in Taylor
No, keep the outfield as is
No, bench Betts or Bellinger!