Rookie Zach McKinstry continues his torrid start as Dodgers sweep Nationals
The marquee pitcher’s duel between three-time Cy Young Award winners and future Hall of Famers lived up to its billing on Sunday, with Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer combining for 12 innings of one-run, eight-hit, 11-strikeout, one-walk ball.
But the pair of aces was nearly upstaged by one-of-a-kind Dodgers rookie utility man Zach McKinstry — known as Z-Mach to his teammates — continuing his torrid start by driving in all three runs of a 3-0 victory before a reduced-capacity crowd of 15,049 in Chavez Ravine.
McKinstry lofted a two-out, run-scoring double to left-center field off Scherzer in the second inning and lined a two-out, two-run homer to right-center off reliever Tanner Rainey in the seventh to help the Dodgers complete a three-game sweep and improve to 8-2 on the season, a 129-win pace.
Highlights from the Dodgers’ 3-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
Dave Roberts lines up Dodgers’ top pitchers to take on Padres
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts set his rotation this week so that Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer will start the first regular-season series against the National League West rival San Diego Padres in Petco Park next weekend.
“I think you can read into it any way you want,” Roberts said, “but I think making sure guys are rested and feeling good going into a particular series is the ultimate goal.”
Kenley Jansen gets the save, Zach McKinstry knocks in every run in Dodgers’ 3-0 victory
Washington: Kenley Jansen now pitching for the Dodgers. Luis Garcia, batting for Mercer, struck out looking. Castro struck out swinging. Jansen is hitting mid-90s on his pitches and looks like the Jansen of old. Hernandez grounded to Jansen.
Final score: Dodgers 3, Nationals 0.
Dodgers take 3-0 lead into the ninth (with Kenley Jansen pitching)
Washington: AJ Pollock to left field. McKinstry to right field. Rios out of the game. Blake Treinen now pitching. Andrew Stevenson, hitting for the pitcher, singled to center. Robles singled to right, Stevenson to second. Turner struck out swinging. Soto flied to center on a 3-0 count. Big out. Zimmerman grounded slowly to the pitcher, Treinen grabbed it and made a strong, accurate throw for the out.
Dodgers: Brad Hand pitching for the Nationals. Pollock flied to center. Lux grounded to first. Seager struck out swinging.
Score after eight innings: Dodgers 3, Nationals 0
Dodgers take 3-0 lead on Zach McKinstry’s home run
Washington: Corey Knebel, who got the save Friday, is in to pitch the seventh for the Dodgers. Castro grounded to third. Hernandez grounded to second. Lucroy lined to center. Do they dare bring in Kenley Jansen to pitch the ninth if it remains 1-0?
Dodgers: Tanner Rainey now pitching for the Nationals. Muncy flied to left-center. Taylor singled to right. Rios hit a liner to right. Soto lost it for a moment and had to make a leaping grab. McKinstry homers to right field. It’s 3-0 Dodgers and McKinstry has knocked in all three. Barnes struck out swinging.
Score after seven innings: Dodgers 3, Nationals 0.
Clayton Kershaw out of the game after six shutout innings
Washington: Trea Turner hit a slow roller up the third-base line. Justin Turner let it roll, hoping it would go foul, but it stopped right on the chalk for a base hit. With Soto up, Turner took second on a wild pitch. Soto struck out looking on a beautiful slider that painted the black on the outside. Zimmerman grounded to short. Mercer struck out swinging.
Kershaw through six: Five hits, no runs, no walks, six strikeouts. 86 pitches.
Dodgers: Matt Beaty, batting for Kershaw, walked. Lux hit a shot to first, Zimmerman made a nice leaping grab and basically landed on first to double up Beaty. Seager doubled to right. That’s the Dodgers’ first hit since the second inning. Justin Turner grounded to short.
Score after six inning: Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
We head to the sixth, 1-0 Dodgers
Washington: Lucroy lined to short. Scherzer struck out looking. Robles popped to second. Kershaw is cruising.
Dodgers: Rios flied to right. McKinstry popped to short. Barnes flied to right.
Score after five innings: Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Uneventful fourth inning, still 1-0 Dodgers
Washington: Zimmerman struck out swinging. Fernando is in the booth with Joe and Orel talking about how he learned the screwball from Bobby Castillo. And again, why haven’t they retired Fernando’s number? Mercer grounded to short. Castro singled to center. Hernandez struck out swinging.
Dodgers: Justin Turner grounded to short. Trea Turner made a nice back-handed stop. Muncy struck out swinging. Taylor struck out swinging.
Score after four innings: Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Still 1-0 Dodgers after three
Washington: Max Scherzer flied to deep center. Robles flied to shallow center. Trea Turner (we need a couple more Turners in this game) singled to center. Turner stole second easily. Their Turner is slightly faster than our Turner. Soto flied to left.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw struck out swinging. Lux struck out swinging. Seager grounded out into the shift. Kershaw has made 40 pitches through three, Scherzer has made 46 pitches.
Kershaw through three: three hits, no runs, no walks, one strikeout
Scherzer through three: two hits, one run, no walks, three strikeouts
Zach McKinstry’s double gives Dodgers a 1-0 lead
Washington: Jordy Mercer struck out swinging. Starlin Castro singled to center. That was only his third hit in 33 at-bats against Kershaw. Yadiel Hernandez flied to center. Jonathan Lucroy popped the ball a mile into the air, giving left fielder Zach McKinstry plenty of time to run under it for the out.
Dodgers: Max Muncy singled to right. Chris Taylor lined to right. Edwin Rios lined to center. Zach McKinstry doubled to deep center, scoring Muncy. It appeared the left and center fielders lost the ball in the sun, as the ball landed right in-between them. Austin Barnes struck out swinging.
Score after two innings: Dodgers 1, Nationals 0
The Dodgers honored Fernando today, and so is The Times with a video series
Scoreless after first inning
Washington: Victor Robles grounded to short. Trea Turner singled to center. Juan Soto grounded to Kershaw, who made a nice snag and forced Turner at second. Ryan Zimmerman grounded to third.
Dodgers: Gavin Lux popped to shallow left. Trea Turner, who was shaded way toward second because of the shift, ran a mile to grab it, but left fielder Yadiel Hernandez slammed his shoulder into Turner left knee. Turner was on his knees for a minute but appears to be OK. Scary moment if you are a Nationals fan. Corey Seager grounded to second. Justin Turner flied to left.
After first inning: Dodgers 0, Nationals 0
A look at Joe Davis’ game notes
Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer lined up for Padres series
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts set his rotation this week so that Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer will start the first regular-season series against the National League West rival San Diego Padres in Petco Park next weekend.
“Um … I think you can read into it any way you want,” Roberts said, “but I think making sure guys are rested and feeling good going into a particular series is the ultimate goal.”
Bauer will start Tuesday night’s series opener against Colorado on five days rest. Dustin May, who looked dominant in his 2021 debut at Oakland last Monday night, will start against the Rockies Wednesday night on eight days rest, and Julio Urias will start Thursday night’s game against Colorado on regular rest.
“There’s gonna be pitching gymnastics all year for our club,” Roberts said. “No. 1, it’s because we have the talent, and No. 2, we want to make sure we manage the usage, keep these guys clicking on all cylinders through October.”
The 19 games between the Dodgers and Padres, who are clearly the top two teams in the division, as well as the two best teams in baseball, could determine which team wins the division and which will be forced to play a win-or-go-home wild-card game.
In light of that, will Roberts put any extra weight on the Padres series by lining up his best pitchers to start against them?
“Relative to any other series … you know, it’s a division rival, and any division opponent, you want to play well against,” Roberts said. “And certainly this is a team that is very talented. I hesitate to say any more emphasis, but you look at the talent, the buildup, we’ll be ready for this series.”
A closer look at today’s matchup between three-time Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer
Sunday’s series finale in Chavez Ravine will feature a marquee pitching matchup between Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, a pair of three-time Cy Young Award winners who have combined for 351 wins and 5,329 strikeouts in their 14-year careers.
Both were first-round picks in the 2006 draft, Kershaw going seventh to the Dodgers and Scherzer 11th to Arizona.
It will be the third regular-season matchup between the two, who first squared off as rookies on Sept. 2008 in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3.
The two next pitched against each other in Game 1 of the 2016 National League Division Series, with the Dodgers winning 4-3 in Los Angeles. On April 20, 2018, Scherzer’s Nationals beat Kershaw’s Dodgers 5-2.
“The compete for both of these guys is next-level, and when they’re opposing one another other, if at all possible, it might be heightened that much more,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “To watch two of the best of our generation go head to head, to me, I’m excited.”
The future Hall of Famers haven’t pitched particularly well against each other. Kershaw has a 5.63 ERA in the three games, giving up 10 runs and 23 hits, striking out 15 and walking two in 16 1/3 innings. Scherzer has a 4.24 ERA, giving up eight runs and 14 hits, striking out 25 and walking four in 17 1/3 innings.
Regardless of the results, Roberts thinks the matchup brings out the best—or at least the best efforts—in each other
“I remember numerous starts where Clayton is pitching, and you see Max watching everything Clayton does, because he wants to put eyes on him, and vice versa, when Max is pitching, I’ve seen Clayton watch everything he does,” Roberts said. “Great players admire and like to watch great players.
“So now, when you have these guys opposing one another, I think it brings out just a little bit more in them, whatever that might be. For me to see it come out in both players and both teams … you want to play well for your aces.”
Kirk Gibson releases emotional video on his battle with Parkinson’s Disease
Orel Hershisher’s snack of the day: Eggs, sausage, peanut butter
Battle of three-time Cy Young Award winners will not include Mookie Betts
Ninety-eight regular-season and postseason games into his Dodgers career, Mookie Betts is yet to play a game in front of home fans in Chavez Ravine.
The star right fielder, who signed a 12-year, $365-million contract extension with the team after being traded from Boston to Los Angeles in 2020, will have to wait at least two more days.
He is not in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Washington Nationals in Dodger Stadium, the fourth straight game Betts will have missed because of back stiffness. Manager Dave Roberts expressed home Saturday night that Betts would return for Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
Zach McKinstry had been playing right field in Betts’ absence, but the utility man will start in left field on Sunday, with Edwin Rios getting the start in right.
The pitching matchup will feature a pair of aces that have each won three Cy Young Awards—Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer. The lineups:
2B Gavin Lux
SS Corey Seager
3B Justin Turner
1B Max Muncy
CF Chris Taylor
RF Edwin Rios
LF Zach McKinstry
C Austin Barnes
LHP Clayton Kershaw
CF Victor Robles
SS Trea Turner
RF Juan Soto
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Jordy Mercer
3B Starlin Castro
LF Yadiel Hernandez
C Jonathan Lucroy
RHP Max Scherzer
Five-run second inning sparks Dodgers in another home win over Nationals
A series of potential distractions hasn’t deterred the Dodgers so far during a home-opening weekend that featured Friday’s World Series ring ceremony and Saturday night’s pregame tribute to the late Tommy Lasorda and concludes with Sunday’s 40th-anniversary celebration of “Fernandomania.”
The Dodgers hung a five-spot on Washington left-hander Patrick Corbin in the second inning Saturday night and beat the Nationals 9-5 before a reduced-capacity crowd of 15,021 at Dodger Stadium.
The evening began with a video recording of Lasorda, the former Dodgers manager and franchise ambassador who died at age 93 on Jan. 7, singing an off-key but full-throated karaoke version of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” while a montage of his career highlights played on the scoreboards.
Highlights from the Dodgers’ 9-5 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
Dodgers lead Nationals 9-3 heading into the ninth
In the top half of the inning, reliever Dennis Santana joined Julio Urías and Jimmy Nelson in dealing two-out heartbreak to the Nationals.
Washington has tallied eight two-out hits against the Dodgers tonight — and have stranded eight runners on base. Jordy Mercer and Yan Gomes were the latest to be left in the dirt when Santana struck out Luis Garcia.
Scott Alexander is pitching for the Dodgers in the ninth.
End of eighth: Dodgers 9, Nationals 3
Dodgers drive in three more runs to take 9-3 lead
AJ Pollock drove in three runs on a quick-falling hit to left field, giving the Dodgers a 9-3 lead in the seventh inning. Pollock’s cleared the bases, in part, because of Andrew Stevenson failing to make a diving catch on the hit, allowing the ball to bounce to the wall.
Justin Turner, Will Smith and Max Muncy all scored on Pollock’s hit off Washington reliever Kyle Finnegan, who managed to strike out Gavin Lux to end the inning.
End of seventh: Dodgers 9, Nationals 3
Check out The Times’ Tommy Lasorda commemorative bookazine
With the Dodgers paying tribute to Tommy Lasorda tonight, be sure to check out 80-page bookazine produced by Los Angeles Times editors and writers about Lasorda’s legendary life.
“Tommy Lasorda: A Baseball Life, a Dodger’s Heart” includes stories and photos that span a career not restricted to Los Angeles, but which extended to Brooklyn, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico, over the course of more than seven decades.
Nationals chase out Julio Urías in the sixth; Dodgers lead 6-3
Jimmy Nelson comes to the Dodgers’ rescue in the sixth.
After hitting Washington’s Yadiel Hernandez to load the bases, Nelson struck out Andrew Stevenson to end the inning.
Nelson relieved Julio Urías after the 24-year-old starter ran into some trouble. Juan Soto led off the sixth inning with a home run to right field before Yan Gomes singled in Ryan Zimmerman.
Urías gave up nine hits and three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Dodgers went down in order.
End of sixth: Dodgers 6, Nationals 3
Justin Turner doubles in Corey Seager to give Dodgers 6-1 lead
Justin Turner hit a double into the left-center field gap, allowing Corey Seager to score and give the Dodgers a 6-1 lead.
It ended the night for Nationals starter Patrick Corbin. Austin Voth, who was originally set to be the Saturday’s starter before the Nationals activated Corbin off the COVID-19 list, took over for Corbin and got out of inning, with Turner and Max Muncy (intentionally walked) left on base.
Corbin, who had struck out four straight before giving up a single to Seager, gave up six hits, six earned runs and walked three over 4 1/3 innings.
The Nationals went down again 1-2-3 on eight pitches from Julio Urías in the top of the inning.
End of fifth: Dodgers 6, Nationals 1
Dodgers lead Nationals 5-1 heading into fifth inning
Washington starting pitcher Patrick Corbin finding a bit success after the Dodgers capitalized on his walk-filled second inning.
Corbin struck out Gavin Lux, Zach McKinstry and Julio Urías.
Urías retired the Nationals in order in the top of the inning, striking out Starlin Castro and getting Jordy Mercer and Yan Gomes to line out.
End of fourth: Dodgers 5, Nationals 1
Patrick Corbin escapes jam after AJ Pollock hits into double play
Washington starter Patrick Corbin manages to escape the inning without giving up a run after AJ Pollock hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Will Smith doubled to deep center field and Max Muncy moved him to third on a hit to shallow right, but they were left stranded.
The Nationals went down in order in the top of the inning.
End of third: Dodgers 5, Nationals 1
Chris Taylor hits three-run home run to pad the Dodgers’ lead
Chris Taylor hit a first-pitch, three-run home run to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead. Taylor’s 429-foot blast was his first homer of the year.
Zach McKinstry got the Dodgers on the scoreboard with a a two-run double two at-bats earlier. McKinstry raked the ball into right field, allowing Max Muncy and AJ Pollock to score. Muncy, Pollock and McKinstry scored on Taylor’s home run.
The inning started with Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin walking the first three batters. Starlin Castro made the first out of the inning when he corralled a liner from Gavin Lux and quickly fired home to force out Will Smith.
Corey Seager then lined out to right to end the inning, but the Dodgers are making Corbin pay for his shaky pitching.
End of second: Dodgers 5, Nationals 1
Julio Urías gets out of a potential jam in the second inning
Julio Urías can credit his quick reflexes for getting out of some potential trouble.
Urías snagged a quick comebacker off the bat of Victor Robles to strand two runners on and get out of the inning.
Nationals pitcher extended the inning when he scooped a two-out single to shallow right. Urías gave up a leadoff single to Jordy Mercer before striking out Yan Gomes and getting Hernan Perez to fly out to center field.
Second inning: Nationals 1, Dodgers 0
Nationals take a 1-0 lead in the first inning
Julio Urías looked primed to escape the inning quickly until Ryan Zimmerman came up to the plate with two outs. The veteran first baseman engaged in an 11-pitch at-bat that ended with Zimmerman sending a laser to the left side of second base that barreled under Corey Seager’s glove.
With runners on the corners, Starlin Castro laced one to shallow right to score Juan Soto. However, Zimmerman got a bit greedy and Zach McKinstry gunned him out at third to end the inning.
Urías is already up to 22 pitches.
The Dodgers — Chris Taylor, Corey Seager and Justin Turner — go down in order with Patrick Corbin on the mound for Washington.
End of first: Nationals 1, Dodgers 0
Dodgers pay tribute to Tommy Lasorda before the game
The Dodgers paid tribute to legendary manager Tommy Lasorda before Saturday’s game.
Tommy’s daughter, Laura Lasorda, started the game by announcing “It’s time for Dodger Baseball.” The Dodgers also showed Lasorda singing Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way” on the video board. Lasorda died in January.
As Dodgers celebrate 40th anniversary of Fernandomania, Valenzuela’s No. 34 remains unofficially retired
The Dodgers will mark the 40th anniversary of “Fernandomania” on Sunday with a pregame ceremony honoring Fernando Valenzuela, whose rise from the obscurity of Navojoa, Mexico, to 20-year-old Dodgers pitching phenom in 1981 ignited the Mexican-American fan base in Southern California and beyond.
On April 9, 1981, Valenzuela threw a five-hit shutout against the Houston Astros on opening day, the start of a remarkable eight-game run in which he went 8-0 with an 0.50 ERA, seven complete games and four shutouts, striking out 68 and walking 17 in 72 innings.
Valenzuela finished the strike-interrupted 1981 season with a 13-7 record and 2.48 ERA, 11 compete games and eight shutouts. He won the National League Cy Young and Rookie-of-the-Year awards while helping the Dodgers win the World Series over the New York Yankees.
Valenzuela has not had his number (34) retired, but Dodgers clubhouse attendants Mitch Poole, who has been with the organization for 37 years, and Alex Torres, who has been with the team for 24 years, have not issued it to anyone since the left-hander last pitched for the team in 1990.
“To me, it would be nice,” Valenzuela, speaking on a video call Saturday, said of the possibility of having his number formally retired. “Right now, I don’t see anyone wearing that number, so that would be nice, no? I don’t know what the Dodgers are thinking, but I’d be happy if somebody was wearing that number.”
The Dodgers don’t have a written policy for retiring numbers, but each of the franchise’s retired numbers were worn by players who were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with one exception — Jim Gilliam, the former infielder who was the team’s first-base coach when he died at 49 before the 1978 World Series.
“I’ve known Fernando for a long time, and he was the man when I first started out,” Poole told The Times in March 2019, when it appeared there was a chance that Bryce Harper, who wore No. 34 with Nationals, might sign with Dodgers.
“He meant so much to this team and the Latin American community. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future with Fernando’s number. I just think leaving it alone right now is good.”
Poole is now the visiting clubhouse manager. Torres is the director of clubhouse operations for the team.
“Alex Torres is in charge of the home clubhouse now — the decision is his,” Valenzuela said. “I’ve never had an issue with it. The numbers are there, and they’re there to be used, no?
“If anybody wants to wear it, it’s fine by me. If somebody asks for it, no problem. I know it’s going to happen sooner or later, but who knows?
Be sure to check out “Fernandomania @ 40,” a multi-episode documentary series that examines star pitcher Fernando Valenzuela’s impact on the Dodgers, Major League Baseball and the Latino community in Los Angeles 40 years ago.
Brusdar Graterol gets closer to return with 15-pitch inning
Brusdar Graterol, the hard-throwing right-hander who opened the season on the injured list because of a COVID-related setback over the winter, threw both his fastball and slider during a 15-pitch simulated inning on Saturday and appears to be nearing a return.
“Everything looked good, so we’re trying to figure out the next step,” manager Dave Roberts said before the game. “We’re hoping to get him back soon. I’m just hesitant to put a day on it.”
Graterol, acquired from the Minnesota Twins for starter Kenta Maeda before 2020, went 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA in 23 games for the Dodgers last season, striking out 13 and walking three in 23 1/3 innings. He pitched in nine postseason games and threw two scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in the World Series.
Roberts said Graterol will return to the team’s alternate site in Phoenix to face live hitters before joining the team.
Right-hander Tony Gonsolin, on the injured list because of shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw in the bullpen on Sunday.
Dave Roberts doesn’t expect Mookie Betts to go on injured list
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Mookie Betts (back stiffness) won’t be available off the bench for Saturday night’s game against the Washington Nationals, but he “doesn’t foresee” the star right fielder going on the 10-day injured list.
“Right now, he continues to get treatment, and he’s feeling a little bit better,” Roberts said before the game. “But in talking to the training staff, we wanted to stay away from him tonight and see how he comes in tomorrow.”
Betts, who will miss his third straight game, took some swings in the batting cage Friday. Roberts wasn’t sure how much more active Betts was scheduled to be on Saturday.
“Hopefully there continues to be improvement,” Roberts said, “but each day he’s progressing.”
Back stiffness keeps Mookie Betts out of lineup for third straight game
Mookie Betts is not in the lineup for the third straight game Saturday night because of back stiffness that sidelined the Dodgers right fielder for Wednesday’s series finale in Oakland and Friday’s 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals in the home opener.
Utility man Zach McKinstry will get another start in right field after twice colliding with the low wall in foul territory on Friday, flipping over the wall and onto the concrete in the seating area after pursuing Starlin Castro’s second-inning fly ball.
Here’s how the Dodgers and left-hander Julio Urias will line up against Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin:
CF Chris Taylor
SS Corey Seager
3B Justin Turner
C Will Smith
1B Max Muncy
LF AJ Pollock
2B Gavin Lux
RF Zach McKinstry
LHP Julio Urias
Dodgers claim right-hander Ashton Goudeau off waivers from Giants
The Dodgers on Saturday claimed right-hander Ashton Goudeau off waivers from the San Francisco Giants and added the 28-year-old swing man to their 40-man roster. He is expected to report to the team’s alternate training site in Phoenix.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Goudeau spent eight seasons in the minor leagues with the Kansas City, Seattle and Colorado organizations, going 29-48 with a 4.81 ERA and 499 strikeouts in 171 games — 70 of them starts — before making his major league debut with the Rockies in 2020.
Goudeau, a 27th-round pick of the Royals in 2012, had a 7.56 ERA in 8 1/3 innings across four games for Colorado last season. He pitched at Maple Woods Community College, the same school Angels slugger Albert Pujols played at before being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999.
Almost the real thing: Dodgers’ fan World Series rings on sale, for up to $6,000
In olden times, championship rings were exclusive jewelry. You had to earn one.
On the day after Dodgers players received their 2020 World Series championship rings, fans could buy a replica of the ring from the company that made it: not an exact replica, but pretty close.
Justin Turner shows off his championship bling while reading The Times
And yes, Mr. Turner, people do still read the newspaper. Be like Justin Turner and subscribe to the Los Angeles Times. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be on the Sports front someday.
Dodgers beat Nationals in home opener filled with tributes and celebrations
A full-throated roar 548 days in the making boomed through Dodger Stadium at 11:45 a.m. Friday. The cardboard cutouts were gone, replaced by 15,036 humans in Dodger blue eager to celebrate a championship and simply watch their beloved team in person after a season apart amid a pandemic. The Dodgers treated them to a show.
A day that began with an emotional ring ceremony and a tribute to Tommy Lasorda featuring his daughter Laura ended in a crisp 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals on the backs of Walker Buehler and Justin Turner.
Buehler added another chapter to his big-stage résumé, tossing six scoreless innings in his second start of the season. Turner went three for three with the difference-making solo home run in his first game at home since re-signing in February. And in the end, Corey Knebel, not Kenley Jansen, was summoned to pitch the ninth inning. He struck out the side for his second save of the season as the Dodgers improved to 6-2.
Highlights from the Dodgers’ home opener against the Washington Nationals on Friday.
Dave Roberts explains why he didn’t use Kenley Jansen in win over Nationals
The ninth inning was done, the Dodgers had won a one-run game, and the closer had struck out the side. “I Love L.A” blared from the sound system.
The scene at Dodger Stadium was familiar, except for the identity of the closer. When the bullpen gate swung open and he entered the game, “California Love” did not blare from the sound system.
Corey Knebel earned the save, closing the Dodgers’ 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals in Friday’s home opener. That left Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to explain why he did not use longtime closer Kenley Jansen.
Roberts said the Dodgers did not want to use Jansen for what would have been the third time in four days.
Return of Dodgers fans provides a preview of a warm, welcoming summer for all
We had three warm months last year, but we did not have summer.
On Friday morning, the Hollywood Bowl announced it soon would welcome a live audience. On Friday afternoon, the Dodgers did, for the first time in 18 months.
In Los Angeles, we mark summers by Dodger Dogs and picnics at the Hollywood Bowl.
“It feels like L.A. is back,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It feels like life is returning.”
Corey Knebel strikes out the side to save Dodgers’ 1-0 victory
Corey Knebel now pitching for the Dodgers. Castro struck out swinging. Stevenson struck out swinging. Knebel is throwing curveball after curveball. Perez struck out looking. That was dominant. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
We go to the ninth, Dodgers 1, Nationals 0
Sam Clay pitching for the Nationals. Luke Raley, in his first major-league at-bat, grounded out into the shift. Taylor grounded to short. Seager flied to center. Dodgers have four hits today, three by Justin Turner. Looks like Corey Knebel will pitch the ninth for the Dodgers. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Blake Treinen escapes jam in the eighth, Dodgers lead 1-0
Blake Treinen now pitching for the Dodgers. Yan Gomes hit for the pitcher. Luke Raley is in right field. Yadiel Hernandez hit for Gomes and hit a ground-rule double to right. Robles laid down a perfect bunt up the third-base line, beating it out for a single, Hernandez to third. Robles was thrown out stealing, a really bad move with no one out and your best hitters coming up. Turner struck out swinging. Huge second out. Soto was walked intentionally. Zimmerman grounded to second. The ball took a tricky up, but Lux corralled it and threw to Seager for the force on Soto. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Still 1-0 Dodgers after seven innings
Wander Suero now pitching for the Nationals. Smith lined to right. Lux grounded to short. Pollock doubled to left. McKinstry lined to short. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Watch Justin Turner’s home run
Nationals go quietly in the seventh, 1-0 Dodgers
Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Buehler’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. 90 pitches, 66 strikes. Stevenson lined to left. Perez struck out swinging. Lucroy struck out swinging. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Dodgers take 1-0 lead on Justin Turner’s home run
Former Dodger Luis Avilan now pitching for the Nationals. He pitched for the Dodgers from 2015-17. He was traded on Jan. 4, 2018 as part of a three-team trade with cash to the Chicago White Sox. The Dodgers sent Erick Mejia and Trevor Oaks to the Kansas City Royals. The White Sox sent Jake Peter (minors) to the Dodgers. The Royals sent Scott Alexander to the Dodgers. The Royals sent Joakim Soria and cash to the White Sox. There will be a quiz later. Taylor struck out looking. Seager struck out looking. Turner homered to left-center, his second of the season and third hit of the day. Muncy lined to left. Dodgers 1, Nationals 0.
Nationals strand two in the top of the sixth
Robles tried to bunt for a hit, but Buehler pounced on it and threw him out. Turner flied to center. Soto singled to center. Zimmerman singled to right, Soto to second. Castro grounded to third. Justin Turner is still not 100% accurate with his throws. Buehler has made 90 pitches through six innings. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
It’s scoreless after five innings
Lux fouled to third. Pollock flied to right. McKinstry walked. Buehler struck out swinging. Maybe neither team will ever score and this game will last 42 innings before it is called. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
Nationals strand a runner in top of fifth
Castro grounded to short. Stevenson grounded to first. Garcia singled to left (going the other way on the shift). Lucroy singled to right-center, Garcia to third. Ross struck out looking. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
Nationals don’t score in top of fourth
Turner fouled to right. Soto singled to second. Zimmerman flied to right. Soto was caught stealing. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
World Series rings come with their own highlight video
No score after three
Zach McKinstry struck out swinging. Walker Buehler grounded to the pitcher. Taylor walked. Seager lined to third. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
Walker Buehler is working hard through three innings
Luis Garcia grounded to third. Jonathan Lucroy grounded to short. Joe Ross struck out attempting to bunt the runner over. Robles flied to left. Buehler has made 50 pitches through three innings, so may not last past the sixth. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0
The best photos in all the land
It’s 0-0 after two innings
Will Smith grounded to third. Gavin Lux flied to left. AJ Pollock grounded to third. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
It’s still scoreless after top of second
Ryan Zimmerman lined to second. He has spent all 16 of his seasons with the Nationals. How often does that happen nowadays? Starlin Castro struck out swinging. During his at-bat, he hit a fly ball down the right-field line. Zach McKinstry ran a mile to get it, saw it tick off his glove, then he took a header over the fence. But he seems OK. Andrew Stevenson flied to left. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
Dodgers go quietly in the first
Joe Ross pitching for the Nationals. Chris Taylor struck out swinging. Corey Seager struck out looking. Justin Turner singled to right. Max Muncy flied to left. You have to wonder how focused the players will be after that pre-game ceremony. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
A perfect first inning for Walker Buehler
And after all that pomp and circumstance, there’s still a game to win. Victor Robles fouled to first. Trea Turner grounded to first. He fouled off several pitches for a nine-pitch at-bat. Juan Soto struck out swinging. Dodgers 0, Nationals 0.
Born X Raised streetwear releases Dodgers hat for home opener
To celebrate the Dodgers’ home opener Friday, Los Angeles-based streetwear company Born X Raised released an official hat. This continues the company’s support of local sports teams and marks its second collaboration with the Dodgers.
The recent Dodgers hat is a New Era 59FIFTY model that features the team’s primary blue color and white logo. Embroidered underneath the “LA” lettering is the Born X Raised logo. The under brim is gray to match with the sidewalks of the city.
Vin Scully congratulates the Dodgers (and the fans)
Great names from the past and present congratulate Dodgers on their World Series rings
For the World Series ring ceremony, the Dodgers reached out to well-known players from the past and present to congratulate each Dodger via video before they received the ring. They were often the favorite player of that Dodger growing up. Here’s the complete list:
Dave Roberts = Rickey Henderson
Austin Barnes = Roberto Alomar
Matt Beaty = Chipper Jones
Cody Bellinger = Chase Utley
Mookie Betts = Jimmy Rollins
Walker Buehler = Bronson Arroyo
Tony Gonsolin = Tim Hudson
Victor González = Andy Pettitte
Brusdar Graterol = Miguel Cabrera
Kenley Jansen = Fred McGriff
Clayton Kershaw = Will Clark
Dustin May = Alex Rodriguez
Max Muncy = Jim Thome
AJ Pollock = David Wright
Edwin Ríos = Ichiro Suzuki
Corey Seager = Kyle Seager
Will Smith = Albert Pujols
Chris Taylor = Cal Ripken Jr.
Blake Treinen = John Smoltz
Justin Turner = Gary Sheffield
Julio Urías = David Ortiz
What Dodgers fans missed the most over the last 18 months
Fans were finally allowed back into Dodger Stadium, though only 15,000 fans to start. We asked them what they missed most about being at a game.
Justin Turner gets his ring
Corey Seager gets his ring and MVP chants
Clayton Kershaw gets his ring
Ken Griffey Jr. does the Joe Kelly pouty face
Bronson Arroyo sings his congratulations to Walker Buehler
Take a look: Dodgers’ World Series rings feature 232 diamonds, 53 sapphires
An abundance of dazzling diamonds and Dodger-blue sapphires, a brilliant yellow-gold Commissioner’s Trophy and a classic red, white and blue team logo are among the artful details of the 2020 World Series ring players and coaches received in a ceremony prior to Friday’s home opener at Dodger Stadium.
The ring, designed and produced by Jostens, features about 222 round diamonds, 10 princess-cut diamonds, 45 custom-cut genuine sapphires and eight round genuine sapphires. It weighs 11.0 carats.
“For 32 years, Los Angeles waited for this moment, this team and this ring — and all that it represents,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement.
Here’s a look at the Dodgers’ World Series ring
Orel Hershiser’s snack for the day is.....
Dodgers place Cody Bellinger on injured list
The Dodgers placed Cody Bellinger on the injured list Friday before their home opener against the Nationals. Outfielder Luke Raley was recalled to replace Bellinger on the roster.
Bellinger was spiked on his left calf attempting to beat out a single in the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ blowout win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday. Bellinger was safe, but he limped off the field and hasn’t played since.
“We did some tests, more manual, getting him to jog around, move around, there’s a steady improvement, not significant, we’ll make a decision here shortly if it’s an IL or not,” Roberts said before the Dodgers announced the roster move.
“But I think from all the tests we’ve received, it will be a short-term missing of time rather than a longer time, which is great news all around.”
Raley, 26, has yet to appear in a major league game. He was drafted by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2016 draft before the club traded him to the Minnesota Twins in 2018 for Brian Dozier.
The Dodgers reacquired him along with Brusdar Graterol and a draft pick from the Twins for Kenta Maeda last February.
Dave Roberts thinks Trevor Bauer is being ‘singled out’ following report
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came to Trevor Bauer’s defense Friday after the Athletic reported that baseballs he used in his start Wednesday drew special attention from Major League Baseball for possible foreign substance use.
“My understanding is that umpires collect baseballs from all pitchers, and balls that were in play, to collect samples,” Roberts said. “I just hope that our player is not singled out. That’s the one thing I want to guard against.”
Does he believe Bauer is being singled out?
“At this point, yeah,” Roberts said.
The Athletic, citing MLB sources, reported that umpires gathered balls used throughout the right-hander’s outing Wednesday. The report stated “the balls had visible markings and were sticky,” and were brought to the umpires’ attention.
Bauer blasted the report and MLB on Twitter, accusing the league of leaking the story.
A league official Thursday did not say whether a pitcher would face discipline if the league determined he used a foreign substance. Bauer held Oakland to two runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings.
“This year, they’re looking at baseballs to kind of take stock on maybe doing something uniform down the road as far as what substance could be used,” Melvin told reporters after the game.
Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger not in today’s starting lineup
Fans returning to Dodger Stadium on Friday won’t see Mookie Betts or Cody Bellinger on the field.
The former MVPs aren’t in the Dodgers’ starting lineup against the Nationals because of injury. Bellinger will miss his third straight game after getting spiked in Monday’s win over the Athletics. Betts will miss his second consecutive game with a lower back injury.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger said Bellinger’s calf has improved, but he could still end up on the injured list.
“We did some tests, more manual, getting him to jog around, move around, there’s a steady improvement, not significant, we’ll make a decision here shortly if it’s an IL or not,” Roberts said. “But I think from all the tests we’ve received, it will be a short-term missing of time rather than a longer time, which is great news all around.”
Roberts indicated Betts’ injury is less serious. He described the right fielder’s status as “day to day.”
“Not high,” Roberts said when asked for his level of concern about Betts’ back. “With where we’re at, no player is gonna feel 100%, but giving other guys an opportunity while making sure Mookie doesn’t get any worse is most important.”
Chris Taylor will play center field in Bellinger’s place and lead off in Betts’ absence. Zach McKinstry will start in right field and bat ninth against Nationals right-hander Joe Ross.
Walker Buehler will start on the mound after the pregame festivities. Julio Urías will start Saturday.
Dustin May was scheduled to take the mound in Sunday’s series finale, but the Dodgers announced that Clayton Kershaw will make the start instead.
“We wanted to give Dustin a couple of extra days, keep Clayton on turn,” Roberts said. “It’s a long season. Dustin can curtail some days and get him back in there. That was the impetus behind that. Dustin is fine and will remain in rotation. Will be slotted in shortly.”
Chris Taylor CF
Corey Seager SS
Justin Turner 3B
Max Muncy 1B
Will Smith c
Gavin Lux 2B
AJ Pollock LF
Zach McKinstry RF
Walker Buehler P
Everybody wants to have a hero | ‘Fernandomania @ 40’ Ep. 1
The Dodgers always seemed to know before anyone else that baseball was meant as a multicultural game. While in Brooklyn, the team shattered Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 with the arrival of Jackie Robinson. And in the 1960s, Sandy Koufax captured the imagination of L.A.’s Jewish community. Yet, for more than two decades, the Dodgers lacked a star to whom the city’s large Mexican and Mexican American communities could relate.
That all changed in 1981, when Fernando Valenzuela took the mound on opening day, throwing a five-hit shutout against the Houston Astros en route to an 8-0 start to the season. The 20-year-old rookie left-hander from the small town of Etchohuaquila, Mexico, became a sensation for his baseball prowess and his quirks — the hair, the windup, the screwball. More importantly, he inspired a local Latino community, many of whom had never rooted for the team. Finally, they had a hero who looked just like them. It was called Fernandomania, and it reverberated both inside Dodger Stadium on the nights Valenzuela pitched and all over Los Angeles.
Game preview and odds for Dodgers vs. Nationals
This matchup marks the first road game of the season for the Nationals (1-2). The Nationals just lost both games of a double-header against the Braves while the Dodgers (5-2) lost to the Athletics 4-3 in 10-innings, which snapped a five-game win streak. In this afternoon’s series opener, the Nationals give the ball to Joe Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA) while the Dodgers send out Walker Buehler (0-0, 3.00 ERA).
This line opened with the Dodgers listed as a hefty -250 favorite. We’ve seen respected money hammer the Dodgers, driving this line up to -275 or even -290 at some shops.
Teams with a line move of 20-cents or more in their favor are 9-5 (64%) this season. Big favorites -200 or more are 10-2 (83%). The total is 8.5 with some over liability (-115). The forecast calls for high 70s and winds blowing out to right center at 10 MPH. The Dodgers are hitting .310 this season, 2nd-best in MLB. The Nationals are hitting .250.
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Dodger Stadium ready for its first game in 18 months
Dodger Stadium is ready for its closeup after not hosting fans for 18 months. The Dodgers’ home opener against the Washington Nationals starts at 1:10 p.m. PDT.
Trevor Bauer blasts MLB after report his baseballs were inspected for doctoring
Citing major-league sources, The Athletic reported umpires gathered balls used throughout the Dodgers right-handed pitcher’s outing. The report stated “the balls had visible markings and were sticky.” Bauer held Oakland to two runs on three hits with 10 strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings.
“Lol always fun reading desperate and misleading clickbait headlines from national gossip bloggers,” Bauer tweeted. “To translate fake journalist speak for y’all, “It’s unclear whether” = “I can’t be bothered to look into this cuz it doesn’t fit my narrative.”
Bauer continued: “Wonder where the articles about balls from every other pitcher being taken out of play in literally every other game this season are? Also lol to @MLB who already has “sources” talking to gossip bloggers about a supposedly confidential process a week into the season thumbs up y’all keep killin it!”
Fans in the stands at Dodger Stadium? ‘It’s going to be kind of surreal’
The speaker’s identity infused gravitas into a cliché that would have sounded empty coming from any other player.
“It’s been marked on the calendar for a while now,” Clayton Kershaw said.
In some ways, the Dodgers left-hander has waited more than a decade for Friday.
He’s pitched some of the most dominant regular seasons in modern baseball history and endured some of the most heartbreaking playoff failures. He’s overcome injuries and reinvented himself as his physical gifts diminished.
And in his 14th year as a major leaguer, Kershaw will finally collect a piece of diamond-encrusted jewelry by which athletes are measured in this country.
Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. Um, on second thought ...
Dodger Stadium will open to fans Friday for the first time in 18 months. With Los Angeles County now in the orange tier of the state’s color-coded reopening plan, a socially distanced crowd of about 15,000 will be allowed in the ballpark for the home opener with the Washington Nationals, the team the Dodgers played the last time people were allowed through the turnstiles.
But just because you can go to the game doesn’t mean you should.
“For sure the initial thought is, ‘Wow, that’s great things are coming back,’” said Dr. Armand Dorian, interim chief executive of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “But then we immediately look and see how are they doing this. Because we’ve been burned before, right?
Dodger Stadium renovations are latest masterpiece designed by Janet Marie Smith
On Aug. 6, 2012, three months into the tenure of the Dodgers’ new owners, the team made three transactions. The Dodgers cut outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., called up outfielder Jerry Sands and signed executive Janet Marie Smith.
Gwynn never again played a full season in the major leagues. Sands never did. Smith is still here, and her latest masterpiece for the Dodgers is only the most recent example of why she should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Smith is America’s foremost ballpark designer. She first made her name in Baltimore, where Larry Lucchino, then president of the Orioles, envisioned an intimate neighborhood ballpark.
“This was at the same time the Blue Jays were building the eighth wonder of the world,” Lucchino said in an interview.
Dodgers look to bounce back after losing to Athletics
OAKLAND — The Dodgers’ soft underbelly, the one glaring question mark for the consensus World Series favorites, was exposed on a chilly Wednesday afternoon inside an outdated concrete mass against the only team left in the majors searching for a win in 2021.
Kenley Jansen was tasked to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning and complete the Dodgers’ seven-game, season-opening trip. A save would’ve extended the Dodgers’ winning streak to six games, but he failed to do his job in the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics in 10 innings at RingCentral Coliseum.
Jansen looked uncomfortable pitching on consecutive days for the first time this season. His velocity was down. His command was erratic as he threw 13 of his 22 pitches for balls. Matt Chapman welcomed him with a loud leadoff single and scored the tying run on Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice fly.
Here’s a how-to guide for attending a game at Dodger Stadium
Dodgers fans rejoice! Dodger Stadium is open to the public once again. Last season, the team rallied to a World Series championship with cardboard cutouts and piped-in crowd noise (surprisingly not the first time) because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A limited number of fans will be welcomed to the Dodgers’ home opener Friday when they host the Washington Nationals. Ironically, this is the team they faced the last time fans were allowed in the park in October 2019. The Dodgers lost and were knocked out of the playoffs. There’s less pressure on this game, but the team will be taking a 5-2 record into the matchup, so there’s plenty of excitement.
The Angels won their home opener April 1, with the players expressing gratitude for the renewed presence of the fans. Let’s see if the Dodgers channel the energy the same way.
Photos: Getting ready for the World Champion Dodgers home opener Friday
The Dodgers play their home opener for the 2021 season on Friday against the Washington Nationals, the team they last faced when fans were in attendance.