Now that was a fun one. It started with Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams throwing out the first pitch. It continued on for nine solid innings from there. We didn’t have to stress or have tight chests for even a moment. The Dodgers improved their record to 4-6 on the year (3-2 at home) with a sound 4-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night. Things truly started on a high note from the onset – and it was one of those rare nights where everything just worked.
Dodger of the Game: Hyun-Jin Ryu
Ryu was a pleasant surprise after a rough first outing to begin his season in Arizona. It wouldn’t be fair to just say he was in command. The Dodgers’ fifth starter was borderline dominant for six shutout innings in which he struck out nine, allowing just one hit and one walk. In tallying his first victory of the season he also had a base hit and walk at the plate. Phenomenal effort by Ryu, who seemed to command the bottom of the strike zone all night to keep Oakland hitters off balance. Orel Hershiser and Joe Davis remarked several times that Ryu was ‘stealing strikes’. Ryu saw early on that home-plate umpire Rob Drake was calling pitches at the bottom of the zone. He peppered that part of the plate with authority early and often and it set the tone for his night.
Chris Taylor homered to left field off Oakland starter Sean Manaea in the bottom of the first to put the Dodgers ahead 1-0. It was reminiscent of the home run he hit in the 2017 World Series. Following Taylor, Corey Seager hit a moonshot into the right field pavilion, and the Dodgers led 2-0 before anyone had a chance to settle in.
Both home runs were the first of the season for Taylor and Seager. The Dodgers weren’t finished playing add-on there. Matt Kemp swung the bat well tonight, looking like the Kemp of old. He doubled to right field and later homered to the same area of the park.
Kenley Jansen was called upon in the ninth inning. Right now, it’s must-see television when he enters a ballgame. To be honest, I was hoping Ross Stripling could just close the game out and give Kenley the night off. It wasn’t so. Stripling worked into a little trouble in the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers up 4-0. Jansen entered with the save opportunity because the tying run was on deck. Jansen struck out Jonathan Lucroy and then got Stephen Piscotty to ground out to end the game and earn save number two. For the most part, he looked more like himself. His velocity is not all the way back, but he was consistently around 92 miles per hour on the cutter.
The Dodgers close the short two game series tomorrow, with Alex Wood going against Daniel Mengden. Another win will be three in a row for Los Angeles.
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