That was just so Dodgers. From the pomp, circumstance and exhilaration of Opening Day to the shoulder dropping, ground ball dropping of back-to-back losses to the rival San Francisco Giants.
Here are five takeaways from the Dodgers' first three games:
5. The team is going to have its struggles with the bat. There will be times, like in this first series, where they will frustrate with men on base, they'll frustrate without men on base and they'll just plain suck at the plate.
They're going to miss Hanley Ramirez. Their best hitters will look like incompetents. They'll load the bases with nobody out and the first thing you're going to say to yourself is, “How are they gonna bleep this up, and how quickly will it lead to zero runs scored?” The second thing you'll say is, “$230 million payroll, $90 million payroll, I ain't seeing no difference!”
If it's an early season trend — and no, three games doesn't count as a trend — panic will set in. In some quarters it already has. #TwitterBaseballFansRMostImpatientPeopleOnEarth.
Los Angeles hit an astoundingly bad 2-27 with runners in scoring position in the series, and managed just 1-14 on that stat last night (that's an .071 average, if you're scoring).
But they're just being the Dodgers. They do this. They've always done this and they always will do this. At times. And it's absolutely meaningless.
Matt Kemp, he of the 0-10 start, including that double play ball with the bases jammed and no one out in the sixth (translation: one run plated during the inning instead of a bunch, S.F. over L.A., 5-3) had the words of wisdom ready go. Kemp, according to the Los Angeles Times said, “It's just three games, I'm not panicking. This won't be the last time I have a bad series, I promise you that. It's baseball.”
It's baseball. Precisely. Out of the mouths of babes, huh?
The Dodgers are going to hit eventually, possibly soon, and in general they'll be an average to above-average team with the bat. But at times they're going to have you pulling your hair out, screaming to the heavens for support. In fact, you might want to save yourself the scalp pain and shave your head right now. Women included.
4. Josh Beckett doesn't throw 98 miles per hour anymore, and you're going to be hearing about it until you're Dodger Blue in the face. Beckett will be 33 next month, has 1,898 career innings under his belt, and apparently, like the Dodgers losing two out of three to the Giants, it's the end of the world as we know it.
Except, Beckett is a veteran pitcher, a smart guy — a World Series hero — and knows what he's doing. Pitchers have been losing mph on their fastballs as they age for what, 125 years? He still hits 90 and 91 on most of his heaters and he's going to adjust. It may take some time to get there, but Beckett's going to adjust. He's going to pitch six and seven innings an outing, keep his club in the game and be a better-than-serviceable middle-of-the-rotation starter. Next.
3. Don Mattingly is going to use his reserves. We've seen two shortstops, two third basemen, two second basemen and two left fielders. Probably a second catcher over the weekend. And it's a good thing. The skipper is getting his guys in games. One or two of them may be in the minor leagues or out of baseball soon enough, but essentially this is what Donnie has to work with. And he's handling the roster perfectly. Nothing to worry about here.
2. The Giants are a good team. Accept it. They are not, however, a great team, and they're going to struggle with the bats as badly as the Dodgers. Worse, actually. San Francisco has two great hitters — Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval — and Sandoval might be on shelf with elbow issues soon enough. Or they might send him to a Pritikin center to get hold of that waistline, once and for all.
But the Giants are a good team, built to battle the Dodgers April through September. And the Dodgers will battle back, with 16 more chances to make their mark. You can panic if that's what gets you through the night, but the first three games out of 162 is an indicator of three games out of 162. Nothing more.
1. Clayton Kershaw is a god. But we've covered that already.