The Gonzo Era Begins With a Win
By Scott Andes
Tonight I took my place amongst the honorable men and woman of the Dodger Stadium Press Box. I sat next to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA, and met Vin Scully for the first time. It was almost overwhelming. I will have more on my experiences in the Dodger Stadium Press Box, in another post tomorrow. In the meantime, I picked a great game to attend. By the time I had arrived, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto were already on their way to the ballpark. The Dodgers had a press conference before the game to officially announce what is the biggest trade in Dodger and baseball history. This was a game for the ages Dodger fans, and it had nothing to do with my fun in the Press Box. The Dodgers plated eight runs on 16 hits, battering Fish starter Josh Johnson for six runs on ten hits, before he was hooked. Andre Ethier tied, and then broke the Los Angeles record for most consecutive at-bats with a hit. He went 4 for 4 with a home run, two singles, a double, and an RBI. His tenth hit tied the record held by Edward Konetchy (nicknamed the ‘big ED”) of the 1919 Brooklyn Dodgers. Adrian Gonzlez homered in his first at-bat, and went 1 for 4 in his first game in Blue. Matt Kemp went 3 for 3 with three singles, as the new and improved Dodger offense exploded. Clayton Kershaw pitched well, only allowing two runs on three hits over eight strong frames to pick up win number 12. Kershaw’s only blemish was a first inning run allowed on a Gorkys Hernandez double, and two ground balls, and a monster home run to Giancarlo Stanton. The Dodgers recorded a season high 16 hits. Oh did I mention I met Vin Scully? Vin Scully. Oh and Vinny.
Once again before our chairs are warm, the opposing team is threatening. Gorkys Hernandez smacks a double down the left field line, that skips just past Luis Cruz’s diving glove for a double. Kershaw then induces Donovan Solano to ground out to first, as Gonzalez, flips to Kershaw covering the bag on the run, as Hernandez advances to third. Jose Reyes’s RBI grounder to short scores Hernandez to give the Fish a 1-0 lead. Blech. Carlos Lee, also known as the Tax man, grounds out to end the frame.
Mark Ellis leads off the bottom of the first off of Josh Johnson with a double into the gap. He slides into second just ahead of the throw. Luis Cruz continues his torrid hitting with a double over Lee’s head down the line to easily score M.Ellis, and the Dodgers have tied the game at 1-1. Matt Kemp singles Cruz to third. New Dodger star Adrian Gonzalez slams a monster home run over the low field level wall into the right field seats, to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. The crowd goes absolutely bananas. I mean crazy! Gonzo comes out of the dugout for a curtain call. Am I dreaming? Is this for real? Stacie texts me and says “No way”. Believe it!
Hanley Ramirez whiffs, as the inning continues. Andre Ethier uses some more Blister power to single into left field. Juan Rivera flies out to right. A.J. Ellis singles into center. Kershaw whiffs to finally end the frame. The Dodgers bat around, and Adrian Gonzalez becomes just the sixth Dodger to homer in the first at-bat, and the first since Juan Rivera last season. The Dodgers lead 4-1.
Top of the second. Giancarlo Stanton leads off and crushes a monster home run about seven rows up into the left field pavilion seats. That’s homer number 28 for Stanton. 4-2 Blue. Kershaw settles down, not letting it affect him. Justin Ruggiano whiffs. John Buck grounds out. Donnie Murphy whiffs as well. End of frame.
Bottom of the second. Mark Ellis leads off and slams a home run. His fifth of the year, to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. Cruz pops out to Reyes.Kemp singles to center. Gonzo whiffs. Ramirez’s fly ball to center ends the inning.
In the top of the third, Josh Johnson, whiffs like a statue. Hernandez draws a walk. Hernandez is caught stealing on a 1-6-3 play. Probably a busted hit and run. Donaovan whiffs, and the inning is over.
Bottom of the third. Dre lead off with his 31 double of the season. Rivera ‘s ground out moves Dre over to third. AJ singles past the drawn in Fish infield to give the Boys in Blue a 6-2 lead. Kershaw sacrifices AJ to second. M.Ellis draws a walk to extend the inning. AJ is nearly picked off of second base, but the ball bounces into center, AJ remains at second. Cruz lines out to Ruggiano to end the third frame.
Leading off the top of the fourth, Reyes grounds out to Ramirez. Lee whiffs, and Stanton flies out to center. Johnson’s night is finished after he coughs up six runs on ten hits, in three frames. Enter lefty Wade LeBlanc. In the bottom of the fourth, Bison singles again for his third hit of the night. Gonzalez whiffs, and Hanley grounds into an inning ending double play. Still 6-2 Blue.
In the top of the fifth, Ruggiano whiffs. Buck is hit by the pitch. I guess it just grazed his shirt, but it was close. Murphy’s ground out advances Buck to second. Wade LeBlanc grounds out to end the frame.
Andre Ethier leads off the bottom of the fifth, and slams his 13 home run of the season. That’s the third home run of the night for the Dodgers, and it gives them a 7-2 lead. It also ties an LA Dodger record. (previously held by Ron Cey). Ethier now has nine straight hits. The Brooklyn record is ten in a row. Rivera doubles into the gap in left. AJ flies out to left. Kershaw whiffs. Mark Ellis flies out to right.
Top of the sixth, Kershaw retires the Fish. After Hernandez grounds out, Solano hits a sharp grounder to Cruz’s left. He makes a great diving stop, but Solano beats it out on a bang bang play. Reyes grounds out back to the box, and lee pops out. Bottom of the sixth. The Fish bring in another new pitcher, Chris Hatcher. Kemp and Cruz bounce out. Gonzalez ground out as well.
Stanton leads off the top of the seventh, with a long fly ball to left. Ruggiano bounces out to Hanley. Buck walks, but Murphy pops out. In the bottom of the seventh, Hanley walks, Ethier singles to center for his tenth hit in a row, to tie Konetchy’s Brookly Robin Record. Although Hanley is caught napping off of second base and tagged out. Rivera’s force out, and AJ’s whiff ends the frame.
Top of the eighth Kershaw sets the Fish down easily. Pinch-hitter Bryan Peterson and Solano both whiff. Miami brings in Heath Bell to replace Hatcher. Nick Punto in his first Dodger at-bat, pinch-hitting for Kershaw draws a walk. Consecutive singles from M.Ellis and Cruz plate another run to give the boys in blue a commanding 8-2 lead. Bison whiffs. Gonzalez pops out.
Ethier Hanley whiffs as well, to end the inning. (Sorry guys, I meant Hanley Ethier’s streak is still intact.)
Ronald Belisario enters to finish the game in the top of the ninth. He retires the Fish in order in the ninth, and the Dodgers win! The Dodgers improve to 69-58, and with the Giants loss cut their deficit to two games. I’ll be going onto the field of Dodger Stadium, as the new Dodgers will be holding a special interview at home plate. Join us tomorrow for more continuing Dodger Documentation. Tomorrow the Dodgers go for the sweep, as Mark Buehrle battles Aaron Harang. First pitch is at 1:10PM. Don’t miss it! I love LA! Go Blue!