For all the moves the Dodgers made, all the big-money contracts they have under their payroll, the only player the Dodgers needed Monday was they haven’t paid … YET.
Clayton Kershaw was on his game Monday, and that left the Giants with only one hope: try to keep the game scoreless until Kershaw exited.
But it didn’t look good when Kershaw needed only 85 pitches to get through eight innings. It looked even worse when Kershaw came out to hit for himself to lead off the eighth, meaning the Dodgers’ ace would be hanging around for another inning or two.
It was over when Kershaw launched George Kontos‘ first pitch of the eighth inning over the center-field fence for his first career home run.
Everything that happened after Kershaw’s blast was completely inconsequential. Sabermetricians will tell you otherwise, but some stats are completely meaningless.
The only stats you need to be worried about are Kershaw’s: 9 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 7 Ks on 94 pitches. The Giants only got one runner to second, and none to third.
So the Giants, a team that was not shut out until June last season, suffered a shutout in their first game of 2013.
Here are some other notes:
- Matt Cain looked good in his first start. He was every bit as good as Kershaw, except for a first inning in which he labored to escape after putting two runners on with no outs. He exited after 93 pitches and six shutout innings, four hits allowed, one walk and eight strikeouts.
- Marco Scutaro went 0-for-4, snapping a 20-game hitting streak he ended the 2012 season with.
- Pablo Sandoval went 2 for 4 and was one of four Giants starters who didn’t strike out against Kerhaw (Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence and Andres Torres the others).
- Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford were each 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Neither lefty had a chance against Kershaw.
- The two loudest balls hits off Kershaw came off the bat of Pence, who flied out to deep center and deep left for outs.
There’s no point trying to make conclusions from this game. It belonged to Kershaw.
Losing on Opening Day for a third consecutive season stinks, but let’s move on to game 2 of 162.
Remember, the Giants opened the 2012 season 0-3 and 1-4, and still won the World Series. The Dodgers started 3-0 and 9-1 in 2012 and missed the postseason.
In other words, it’s a long season.