The season wasn’t three games old and already the Dodgers were in major scramble bode. And we're pretty sure finding out your ace might be lost to you for at least a month qualifies as major.
Clayton Kershaw and his $215-million contract were already on the disabled list with an inflamed back muscle, but Tuesday the Dodgers said their Cy Young winner would be out for weeks. Which leaves right-hander Zack Greinke is the new leader of the Dodgers’ rotation.
Greinke, whose spring was hampered by a strained calf, made his first start of the season Tuesday for the Dodgers, and if the complete package wasn’t exactly ace material, at least it was in the neighborhood.
Greinke started strong, retiring the first 10 Padres batters, before new Dodgers nemesis Seth Smith hit his second home in as many games.
Greinke went only five innings, laboring through his final two. He gave up two runs, two hits and a pair of walks, with five strikeouts. But it took him 94 pitches (52 strikes) and the Dodgers had best look at it as a building process.
It was the 16th consecutive start in which Greinke went at least five innings and allowed two runs or fewer. That’s what aces do, and what Greinke will need to do now more than ever.
Puig hit his towering shot to left in the first off Ian Kennedy, which had to feel good. Kennedy had hit Puig in the nose with a pitch last season.
The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Juan Uribe doubled and Dee Gordon singled him home.
Smith got one run back with his solo homer in the bottom of the inning and the Padres scored another in the fifth on a Greinke wild pitch.
The Dodgers’ offense, however, is not exactly in high gear to start the season. They managed only seven hits, and left seven runners on base.
Chris Withrow, Paco Rodriguez and J.P. Howell each gave the Dodgers a scoreless inning of relief – Howell pitching the eighth in place of Brian Wilson, who went on the DL Tuesday with nerve irritation in his elbow.
Gordon turned a double play to get Howell out of trouble in the eighth, then Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth.
Jansen barely made it, loading the bases on a pair of hits and a walk before striking out pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to earn his second save.