The Birdman Cometh

Pirates    0 2 1Dodgers  3 7 0WP-Greinke-1-0LP-Sanchez-0-1SV-League-1HR-Ethier-1Tootblan-Crawford


Birdman Zack Greinke flapped his arms and flew into Los Angeles to make his Dodger Blue debut on the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was certainly an easy enough assignment, considering the Dodgers have been able to beat the Bucs so many times over the years, especially at Dodger Stadium. I almost feel bad for the Bucs….well almost. The Dodgers came into the game having beaten the Bucs 16 of the last 20 games, and are 32-10 against the Buccos in their last 42.

The Dodgers continued their domination over the Bucs, by beating them 3-0 behind a dominant performance from Zack Greinke. The Mark Fidrych look-alike shut-out the pirates, limiting them to only two hits through 6.1 innings. He walked none, and whiffed six while making 92 pitches. He was removed in the seventh, for Paco Rodriguez. The winged right hander picked up his first win in Dodger blue. Greinke also went 1 for 2 with a single with the bat.

Everything went great for the Dodgers tonight. The Dodgers took the lead in the bottom of the second when Andre Ethier blasted his first home run of the season, off of opposing starter Jonathan Sanchez to give the boys in blue a 1-0 lead. Sanchez is trying to rebound from the worst year of his career last year, and was 3-6 versus the Dodgers. We also saw old friend and former Dodger catcher Russell Martin, who is now the backstop for the Bucs.

Birdman retired 19 of 21 tonight through 6.1 frames.-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Sanchez was knocked out of the box in the bottom of the sixth, when the Dodgers broke open with a walk to Mark Ellis, and then consecutive run scoring doubles by Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez, put the Dodgers ahead by a score of 3-0. Kemp broke what was an 0 for 10 slump coming into the game. Gonzo had a good game as well, going 2 for 3 with an RBI.

The Dodgers bullpen took care of the rest. Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen, and Brandon League closed up shop, as the Dodgers beat the Pirates 3-0, and improve their 2013 record to 2-2. Tonight was an enjoyable game, and here is how it all went down……

Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (57) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Top of the first- Starling Marte begins the game by grounding to short. Neil Walker a long fly out to left. Finally Andrew McCutchen flies out to center to end the frame.

Bottom of the first-Carl Crawford leads off by getting called out on a full count third strike. Mark Ellis pops up for the second out. Matt Kemp flies out to shallow right.

Top of the second. Big Pedro Alvarez grounds out to second. Old Friend and former Dodger catcher Russell Martin grounds out as well. Garrett Jones lines a single past M.Ellis and the Dodger shift for a two-out single. No problem for Greinke, he retires Chris Snider on a grounder to end the frame.

With two outs in the bottom of the second, Andre Ethier takes Jonathon Sanchez deep, hitting a solo home run into the right field pavilions. 1-0 Dodgers! That’s the first home run of the season for anyone not named Clayton Kershaw.

Greinke preserves the lead in the top of the third, by retiring Barmes on a groundout, and whiffing Sanchez, and Marte respectively.

In the bottom half of the third, Greinke reaches on an infield single to second, which is later ruled an error. It’s a slow chopper that Walker can’t handle. Crawford reaches on a fielder’s choice, as Greinke is erased at second base. Then with M.Ellis at-bat, Crawford takes off to steal, but for some reason lets up, and is tagged out at second. I guess he forgot what the count was, and thought it was ball four, but in fact it was ball three. With that, we have the first Dodger Tootblan of the season.

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) heads for first after a solo home run in the second inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Birdman breezes through an easy 123 top of the fourth. He whiffs Walker and McCutchen to keep the Dodger lead at 1-0. In the Dodger’s bottom half of the fourth, Matt Kemp is robbed of an extra base-hit by a great diving stop by Pedro Alvarez throwing across the diamond to get Kemp by a step. Gonzalez flares a single into left, but Ethier grounds out.

Move to the bottom of the fifth. A.J. leads off with a double down the left field line. Justin Sellers follows with a line-out to left. Birdman smokes a line-drive single to left. A.J. has to stop at third. Looks like we have some good hitting pitchers! But the inning ends when Crawford whiffs, and the Dodgers don’t score.

Greinke breezes through another easy frame in the top of the sixth. M.Ellis leads off the bottom of the sixth with a walk. Kemp finally break his slump, and doubles into the right center field gap to score M.Ellis. The run-scoring double gives the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Gonzalez immediately follows by Poking an RBI double just inside the right field line. Kemp easily scores from second, and it‘s 3-0 Dodgers. Gonzo’s hit chases Sanchez from the game, as Buc’s manager Clint Hurdle hooks him for right hander Jeanmar Gomez. Cruz hits a grounder to short, Barmes goes to third and cuts down the lead runner, Gonzo at the hot corner for the first out. Bad Base-running on that play from Gonzalez. Andre Ethier follows by immediately lining out into a double play since Cochito was caught in no-man’s land off of first and second. The Bucs are lucky to get out of that inning only allowing the two runs. However the Dodgers lead 3-0.

Sanchez’s pitching line was five innings plus, three runs allowed on six hits. He walked one and whiffed four.

Walker starts off the top of the seventh by lining out to Gonzo. McCutchen singles to center. The Dodgers decide to hook Birdman after he has made 92 pitches. Greinke’s line is 6.1 frames, no runs, two hits, no walks, and six whiffs. Just utter domination. Greinke retired 19 of the 21 batters he faced.

Bison points and says “look mom I got a hit!”:-Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Mattingly calls in lefty Paco Rodriguez to pitch to Alvarez. With Alvarez at the plate, A.J. throws out McCutchen trying to steal second, then Paco whiffs Alavrez like a little girlie man. The Dodgers get out of the inning without allowing scorage. The Dodgers still lead 3-0. Gomez comes back for another inning of work in the bottom of the seventh, and retires the Dodgers in order. Kenley Jansen comes in to pitch in the top of the eighth for the Dodgers. Martin walks. Jansen whiffs Jones, and Snyder. Although, Snyder’s was a check-swing. Josh Harrison flies out to center, which ends the inning. Move to the top of the ninth. Brandon League comes on to close it out. Jose Tabata lines out to Kemp. Marte grounds to third. Walker whiffs to end the game! Dodgers win!

At least we can always relish in the fact that the Pirates have it way worse than us offensive wise. Yeesh. Dodger pitching held them to only two hits. That makes it 15 out of 17 against the Pirates. Man, can the Bucs come in to town more often? Seriously! The Pirates must be a pretty patient team because there was an unusually high amount of three ball counts. But that didn’t factor into anything.  Birdman’s debut was a rousing success, as the Dodger righty destroyed the Bucs.

The three game series continues tomorrow with a marquee match-up. A.J. Burnett will battle Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw Saturday evening at 6:10 PM. Join us tomorrow for more daily Dodger coverage. Enjoy your Friday night everybody! Go Blue.