Dodgers Fail to Cash in Solid Ryu Start and Lose Sunday Opener


Dodgers 1 4 2

Padres 3 5 0

WP- Thayer (1-0)

LP- Brian Wilson (0-1)

S- Street (1)

HR- Seth Smith (1)

Hyun-jin Ryu pitched admirably for the Dodgers in the Sunday opener against San Diego, but it was all for naught.  Ryu pitched seven scoreless innings, but a combination of failed bunt attempts, Andrew Cashner‘s fastball, two errors, and a meltdown inning from Brian Wilson gave the Dodgers their first official loss of the season. Ryu pitched brilliantly even though he had to pitch out of two jams in the first two frames. Ryu settled down nicely, and he retired 16 batters in a row at one point. He only allowed 3 hits to San Diego, and unfortunately will not get the win even though he deserved it after taking over Opening Day starting duties from the disabled Clayton Kershaw.

Hyun-jin Ryu only allowed 3 hits after pitching seven scoreless innings against San Diego on Sunday. Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Kershaw watched from the bench as the Dodgers botched three bunt attempts. In the fifth inning, A.J. Ellis is thrown out at third trying to advance on a Ryu failed bunt. In the seventh inning, the Dodgers botch two consecutive bunt attempts. Gordon and Ryu both fail at bunting, and we are left to wonder why Mattingly gave up two consecutive outs there.

Andrew Cashner pitched very well too. The Dodgers only run came on a fifth inning RBI single by Carl Crawford. The Dodgers held on to the narrow lead until the fateful bottom of the eighth inning when Brian Wilson served up a pinch-hit homerun to Seth Smith and a two-run single by Denorfia. The Dodger offense was pretty quiet, other than A.J. Ellis who had a good game with 2 base hits and a walk.

San Diego is adorned in their Sunday’s best camouflage jerseys, and the Dodgers are wearing their new alternate road jerseys with Dodgers emblazoned on the front. Andrew Cashner strikes out Carl Crawford, the Dodgers lead-off hitter, on a check swing. The crowd erupts in a chorus of boos, and it is quite apparent that Petco Park is filled with Blue this Sunday evening. Then Yasiel Puig is quickly taken care of and strikes out on three pitches. Hanley Ramirez hits a ball deep, but Chris Denorfia is there to make the third out of the first inning in right field.

In the bottom of the first inning, Hyun-jin Ryu walks the lead-off San Diego hitter, Everth Cabrera. The Padres quickly get into the game after Chris Denorfia hit a cracked bat single to right field. Yasiel Puig’s throw is cut off by Hanley Ramirez, and Cabrera slides safely into third base. Denorfia scampers into second on the throw. Chase Headley strikes out, and Ryu has finally recorded an out in the inning. Then Ryu walks Jedd Gyorko, and the bases are loaded for San Diego. Ryu somehow works a double play out of Yonder Alonso who hits it back to the mound. Ryu gets the out at home, and then A.J. Ellis turns to double up Alonso at first. My nerves are already being tested after Ryu narrowly escapes that bases loaded jam.

Cashner is in control. Adrian Gonzalez lines out to center, and Andre Ethier strikes out swinging. Juan Uribe comes up with a ground ball single for the first Dodger base hit of the game. A.J. Ellis bloops a broken bat base hit to shallow center field after going 3-2. Uribe makes it all the way to third. Dee Gordon ends the inning by grounding into a force play at second.

Tommy Medica, the left fielder, leads off the bottom of the second with a little dribbler single up the third base line. Ryu throws the ball

Andrew Cashner pitched well, but he was not involved in the decision. Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

wide of first base in an attempt to get him. Will Venable follows with a single, and Ryu is not fooling anyone so far tonight. The Padres have runners at first and second with nobody out. Rene Rivera flies out to Puig for the first out. Cashner successfully lays down a sacrifice bunt, and he moves both runners over to second and third. Once again Ryu comes out of the inning unscathed as he strikes out Cabrera to end the threat.

The Dodgers go down 1-2-3 in the top of the third. Ryu grounds out, Crawford strikes out, and Puig ground out.

Ryu also pitches a perfect third inning thanks to some stellar defense by his teammates. Juan Uribe flashes his leather as he snares a sharply hit grounder by Headley. Gordon climbs the ladder to grab a line drive by Gyorko.

Andrew Cashner retires seven Dodgers in a row after another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth. Adrian Gonzalez sends a ball on a ride to deep right field, but Denorfia tracks it down as he hits the outfield wall.

Ryu has settled in now, and the Padres go down in order in the bottom of the fourth.

In the fifth, the Dodgers finally strike and get on the board.  A.J. Ellis singles with one out. Gordon draws a walk, but Ellis is thrown out at third on a bunt by Ryu. Bunt failure. Crawford singles in Gordon, and the Dodgers take the first lead of the game, 1-0. Cashner walks Puig to load the bases up with two outs. Hanley grounds into a force out to end the inning, but the Dodgers notch a run on Cashner before the frame is over.

The Padres go down in order again in the bottom of the fifth, and Ryu has now pitched five shutout innings against the Friars. Ryu strikes out Rivera and Cabrera in the inning good for 5 strikeouts in as many frames.

Dee Gordon scored the only Dodger run. Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Cashner is still pitching well, and the right-hander handles the Dodgers quickly in the sixth as Gonzo, Dre, and Uribe all go down consecutively.

Ryu’s curveball gets Headley to chase strike three in the bottom of the sixth for the second out. Headley is 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts against Ryu. Gyorko also whiffs against Ryu, and the Padres go down 1-2-3 yet again.

The Padres will bring in a reliever for the top of the seventh. Nick Vincent, a right-hander, comes out of the San Diego bullpen. He walks A.J. Ellis to open the inning. The Dodger catcher now has 2 hits and a walk in the game. The Dodgers continue to fail at bunting. Dee Gordon pops out in foul territory, and Ryu strikes out on bunt attempts. San Diego will make another pitching change, and they’ll go to the lefty, Alex Torres to face Crawford. He immediately uncorks a wild pitch, and that allows A.J. to take second. Torres is the only lefty the Pads have out of the bullpen. He gets his job done by striking out Crawford.

Andrew Cashner allowed 1 run on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks on 96 pitches.

Ryu is back out there for the bottom of the seventh. Other than a walk to Medica which snapped his 16 retired batter in a row streak, Ryu retires the side without allowing a hit.

Dale Thayer, a mustached sidearmer, retires the Dodgers in order in the top of the eighth. Puig hits a ball deep to right field, but once again

Mar 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres pinch hitter Seth Smith (12) celebrates with shortstop Everth Cabrera (2) following a solo home run in the eighth inning on the opening day baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Denorfia is there to make the catch.

Brian Wilson will take over for Ryu in the bottom of the eighth. Ryu pitched 7 shutout innings and only allowed 3 hits with 7 strikeouts and 3 walks on 88 pitches. Wilson promptly serves up the tying run, a pinch-hit solo homerun to Seth Smith, and it’s a whole new ballgame. Wilson looks off tonight, and he walks Yasmani Grandal. Cabrera lays down a bunt which is bobbled by Wilson, and everyone is safe. Denorfia shows bunt, and while running through the strike Grandal nabs third base with no throw. Denorfia then strokes a single up the middle, and two runs come home. The Padres take a 3-1 lead. Still nobody out. Headley then reaches safely on a fielding error by Adrian Gonzalez who boots the ball. Chris Perez will have to be brought in to replace the weathered Wilson. Perez strikes out Gyorko. Mattingly will now call on Paco Rodriguez to get the last two outs. Paco strikes out Alonso and Medica, but the damage is done.

Huston Street will come in for the top of the ninth to try to close shop for the Padres. Andre Ethier grounds out, and the outfielder goes 0-for-4 on the night. Juan Uribe strikes out. A.J. Ellis grounds out, and the Dodgers pick up their first loss of the season and now are 2-1 on the young season.

The first loss is always painful, but it is a long season. The Dodgers have a lot to sort out, but they will need to pull together despite losing Kershaw for now.

The Dodgers have an off day tomorrow, and they resume the San Diego series on Tuesday. Zack Greinke will counter foe Ian Kennedy.