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Clayton Kershaw, Scott Van Slyke lead Dodgers past Diamondbacks in opener

Mar 22, 2014, 7:50 AM EDT

Clayton Kershaw Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball and Scott Van Slyke doubled and homered as the Dodgers topped the Diamondbacks 3-1 in Saturday’s opener in Australia.

The game, delayed slightly at the onset by some early evening rain, opened with Wade Miley striking out Yasiel Puig on three pitches.

The Dodgers struck first in the second, when Van Slyke had what looked to be a two-run homer to left knocked down by the wind. Fortunately, Mark Trumbo, a natural first baseman, never realized it until it was too late, and what should have been a catchable ball dropped for a double, advancing Adrian Gonzalez to third. Gonzalez then scored on an Andre Ethier groundout.

Van Slyke ended up getting his two-run homer two innings later on a fly down the right-field line. That ball wasn’t struck nearly as well as the first, but this time he was aided by the wind.

Miley finished up his outing allowing three runs in five innings. Kershaw was stronger, striking out seven and walking just one after a poor spring that saw him post a 9.20 ERA in four starts.

The Diamondbacks did make things a little easier on Kershaw than they needed to. Twice they used pinch-hitters in the pitcher’s spot against him. Lefty Didi Gregorius got the call in the fifth inning with one on and none out. Fellow lefty Eric Chavez was the choice in the seventh with one on and one out. Both struck out in pretty hideous fashion, as one might expect. Even though they were allowed to take 28 players to Australia, the Diamondbacks couldn’t come up with a legitimate righty pinch-hitter. They actually did have one, in the form of Matt Tuiasosopo, but they placed him on waivers after arriving and he was subsequently claimed by the Blue Jays.

If there was any bad news for the Dodgers, it’s that Puig looked well off in his first four at-bats, striking out three times and grounding out weakly back to the mound. He finally made some good contact off J.J. Putz in the ninth, hitting a ball to deep center that the wind knocked down. It might have been a homer on another day, though it left him 0-for-5 tonight.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will now get about 14 hours off before playing the finale of their two-game series, with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Trevor Cahill slated to start the day game in Australia.

  1. Eutaw's Finest - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    I wish MLB would treat the official kickoff of the season like NFL does. I want a big stink made of it. Nationwide broadcast. Prime time evening event on Fox. I want fans across the country tuning in, whether or not it’s the team they cheer on, to celebrate the start to the new season for baseball!

    Instead we get a game in Australia in the wee hours or the morning that, other that those in the stadium, I’m sure went relatively unnoticed. I understand the casual fan is more excited for their home teams opener but maybe more exposure would increase the casual fans interest.

    • quintjs - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:08 AM

      I agree its weird, I would have thought all-star teams touring the world over at the same time as the world series would be just as good to grow the game as it would have games in Australia or Europe for people to watch and then get them turning into the playoffs. It wouldn’t effect players or team that much because it would be made up of players whose teams are elimanted so they are not doing anything anyway, and you can still make some star studded all star teams from non-playoff teams (more stars than say, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers).

      That being said… you had a world series between two storied franchises, with great storylines, great pitching and hitting, some weird and wonderful finishes, and people still didn’t really care outside of two cities so I really don’t think it matters too much where the first game is being played, baseball fans only really care about their own team and division (as a rule, obviously not anyone on this site), kinda sad but its how people have been trained.

      • clydeserra - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        I am a huge fan. I watch random major and minor league games all throughout the season. Games where I have no rooting interest, but just like watching. I listen to those games too.

        But when it comes to the playoffs, if my team is not in it, I barely care about it. It takes me a while to recall who actually won teh world series, let alone who was the loser.

        So yeah, I don’t see a national event of opening day coming anytime soon.

  2. Bob - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Well played, Selig. Your season is opening at 5 a.m. on the same weekend as the first two non-play-in rounds of the NCAA tournament. Way to bury your sport in its own country. All for the sake of a buck or two. Typical Selig.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      One oddity I noticed in the few minutes I caught at the start. The stadium PA announcer sounded pretty American, as opposed to the Aussie accent. I guess the goal was to give the locals an MLB experience, as opposed to letting us in the US enjoy an Aussie experience. Whatever.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:00 PM

        I wonder if those lucky so-and-so’s got to dodge “God Bless America” in the 7th.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        Histo, I hope so. I’d have definitely gone with Waltzing Matilda for the stretch.

    • rcali - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      Selig is just filled with great ideas. Please retire grandpa.

  3. Bob - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    And way to screw the Diamondbacks out of two home games later in the season. Why aren’t the Dodgers the home team for one of these games?

    • chiadam - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      Didn’t you know that Australia is now a suburb of Phoenix?

      • paperlions - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        At the very least, most Australians could wander around Phoenix without the cops randomly demanding ID.

      • jimeejohnson - Mar 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        Not the Aborigines.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:30 PM

        Jimee. So true. Unless Quigley is around to protect them!

    • clydeserra - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      hey, their sales department can now say “WE HAVE LOWERED THE SEASON TICKET PACKAGE PRICE!!!!”

    • paperlions - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      The D-backs aren’t getting screwed out of anything, they SOLD those home games. Now, the D-Backs fans are getting screwed out of 2 home games and out of a real opening day, but the organization sold those games…MLB didn’t take anything from them.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        G’day, papercroc (just for today, mate). I’m watching the game now. Doesn’t Scully have the smoothest snark ever?

        Also, in all fairness, Dbacks fans can easily see their team in ST games while other teams’ fans aren’t so local. They don’t really lose seeing their teams much then (although those games don’t count, of course) — but really, they can see a lot more baseball conveniently than say Dodgers fans. I don’t consider them shorted, really.

      • paperlions - Mar 22, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        Yeah, Scully is so smooth that I always wonder if he was really being snarky or not….because he seems so genuine that you would think he’s above such things….but I’ve listened to him enough to know that enjoys the snark.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        he he They did the wave!

  4. chiadam - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    I woke up for work, put on MLBN, and wondered why they were showing a replay of an actual Dodgers / ‘Backs game from last season. Then I realized it’s Opening Day.Sort of. Even though Opening Day is over a week away. But, I’m pretty sure it’s March 31st in Australia.
    Thanks to MLB for again turning the first game of the year into an obscure freak show.

  5. doctornature - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    The smell of the green slime…or money, as people who have some actually call it…is all over Selig, who is stuffing greenbacks in his jockstrap for selling out opening day again. This putrid turd needs to go, as well as anybody else involved in moving the dog and pony show of Opening Day to the land down under.I love Aussies, but to rob nearly all baseball fans here of the joy opening day usually brings is pathetic, and needs to be stopped. Get some teams eliminated from the Playoffs to go over at season’s end if you want to showcase MLB overseas.

  6. kingscourt25 - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE OI OI OI!

  7. stephenolszewski - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Don’t understand having the first official game of MLB season in Australia, I like the idea but make them play in the middle of the season or something

    • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Here’s the thing about being the Commissioner of baseball: if you want to have an Australia party, you can make everyone come.

  8. dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 22, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Good to see Kershaw picked up where he left off. Dude’s just filthy.

  9. toodrunktotastethischicken - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    ….There was an official game last night?

  10. clydeserra - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    “Left fielder Mark Trumbo, a natural DH”

    Fixed that for you

  11. clydeserra - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Also, I believe the final score should have been Los Angeles 12/27(9/9) Phoenix 6/27 (9/9) Los Angeles wins by 6 runs.

  12. thetxhammer - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    Unless I read that wrong, pinch hitting actual hitters for the pitcher wouldn’t be making it easier for Kershaw.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      You have to do all these change ups in the NL because of Miley’s ferocious .144 lifetime average.

  13. sawxalicious - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    So, Scott Van Slyke is on pace for 162 homers…

  14. dillongeeescapeplan - Mar 22, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Remember when Xavier Nady was on pace for 324? He was also on pace for 648 hits!

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