A controversy ensued, as some of the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed they felt disrespected. Sen. John McCain blasted the Dodgers on behalf of his home state. The Dodgers rolled their eyes, pointing to this as the latest small-minded complaint by their middle-market division rivals.
If any bad blood remains from the incident, it didn't resurface Friday, when Adrian Gonzalez drove in five runs and Hyun-Jin Ryu had a strong outing in the Dodgers' 6-0 victory over the last-place Diamondbacks.
This wasn't the time to restart a feud. The teams had other concerns, the Diamondbacks' far more serious than the Dodgers'.
With Yasiel Puig returning to the lineup from a sprained thumb, Don Mattingly had the unenviable task of deciding which of his four big-name outfielders would start the game on the bench. On this day, the odd man out was Matt Kemp.
Kemp and Gonzalez came to Arizona with sub-.200 batting averages, but Mattingly sounded certain they would hit.
Gonzalez did. The four-time All-Star hit a two-run home run off Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy in the first inning that moved the Dodgers in front, 2-0. Two innings later, Gonzalez doubled the Dodgers' lead to 4-0 with a two-run single to center field. Gonzalez drove in his final run in the eighth inning.
"I heard people talk about my average, but I knew it wasn't something to focus on because it wasn't relative to how I was swinging the bat," Gonzalez said. "I knew if I stayed positive and stayed with it, eventually it was going to turn around."
Mattingly was significantly more concerned about his bullpen's workload. He avoided using Kenley Jansen or J.P. Howell because they had each pitched in four of the previous six days.
"We don't get deep into games with our starters, you end up in that bullpen for four or five innings every night and that puts stress on everybody," Mattingly said.
Ryu's performance Friday was exactly what Mattingly wanted. Ryu pitched seven shutout innings, limiting the Diamondbacks to two hits and a walk. That was considerably better than what he did a week earlier in the Dodgers' home opener, when he lasted only two innings.
The Dodgers' issues are mild compared to the Diamondbacks'.
Like the Dodgers, they lost their ace and setup man, only they can't afford the kind of roster to withstand their absences.
The Dodgers have wondered if shortening spring training to facilitate their season-opening series in Australia resulted in the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson. The Diamondbacks were their opponent in that series, but Manager Kirk Gibson wouldn't speculate how the unconventional spring adversely affected Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez. Both pitchers will miss the remainder of the season after major elbow operations.
"You could speculate one way or the other," Gibson said. "I know that we put a lot of thought into preparation for that and we carried it out. The players bought into it. Everybody prepared. I think there's plenty of time. And I don't think, really, anybody's immune to an injury. You look around the big leagues, there are a lot of injuries. It's part of what happens, what goes on."
Diamondbacks starters entered Friday with a combined earned-run average of 6.57, which was worst in the NL.
Randall Delgado pitched a combined 71/3 innings in his two starts and appeared to be on the verge of losing his place in the rotation. His place could be taken by Josh Collmenter, who primarily has been used as a reliever over the last two years.
For insurance, the Diamondbacks signed 37-year-old left-hander Randy Wolf to a minor league contract Friday. Gibson said Wolf could be part of the Diamondbacks' plans.
"It's not like we're buzzing them down," Gibson said. "We're looking for better options, for sure."
However their season unfolds, the Diamondbacks can be almost certain the Dodgers won't celebrate in their pool this year. The Dodgers' final game of the season here is Aug. 27.