Los Angeles Dodgers Opening Day- Jimmy Rollin’s Three-Run Home Run Gives Dodgers The Win

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Well that was fun eh guys? The Dodgers battled the Padres, coming from behind to take a 6-3 win on opening day. The death blow for the Padres was the three-run home run from Rollins of off Shawn Kelley in the bottom of the eighth.

The Dodgers opened their 2015 regular season amongst much pomp and circumstance. The stage was set for all the drama. The boys in blue had their ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound to face the opposing club’s ace James Shields. This was also Matt Kemp’s first game at Dodger Stadium as a member of the re-tooled Padres.

Padres    3 7 1

Dodgers 6 9 0

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This was the first time in years I was not at opening day. Unfortunately Stacie was not feeling well, and I didn’t feel right going without her. So instead, I watched the game from the comfort of my living room couch.

The Pregame ceremonies involved three former cy young winners (Fernando Valenzuela, Don Newcombe, and Eric Gagne) throwing out the first pitch. The club also took a moment of silence for long time Dodger employee Billy DeLury, who recently passed away.

Speaking of those re-tooled San Diego Friars, they acquired all-star closer Craig Kimbrel from the Braves yesterday, along with B.J. Upton. All they had to give up was thug Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, and a couple of minor leaguers. So San Diego had Kimbrel looming in the bullpen, which added even more spice to the main course of opening day.

Opening day really should be a national holiday. Everyone should have it off, and in case you didn’t, you could even have an excused absence thanks to a note written from a major leaguer.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

These days opening day is like a fillet mignon steak, and this one was not a disappointment. The Dodgers have always played well on opening day over the years. As a matter of fact, they’ve won six of their last seven opening day affairs coming into Monday afternoon’s tilt.

The Dodgers had to come from behind to take this game, and it was new Dodger Jimmy Rollins who provided the nail in the Padre’s coffin with his massive three-run home run in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie.

Early on it was two Dodger defensive lapses that appeared to be costly for our beloved Dodgers. Kershaw allowed a quick run to score in the top of the first inning. Will Myers was hit by a pitch, and then after a steal of second base, scored on Matt Kemp’s perfectly placed ground ball single into right field. It was perfectly placed as Howie Kendrick was over shifted, and nowhere in the vicinity.

It was very strange to see Kemp in a San Diego uniform-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t just the defensive lapses that were frustrating early on, the club wasn’t able to capitalize on early opportunities. The club was 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position until the eighth inning. The club stranded two runners in the fifth, and Justin Turner struck out in sixth with Pederson at third.

How was Matt Kemp received at Dodger Stadium? It was mostly mixed with a lot of cheers and some boos, but most of the Dodger fans gave him a standing ovation in his first at-bat. As almost scripted, Kemp almost single handedly destroyed the Dodgers with two hits, and three runs driven in. It looks like he may end up becoming a thorn in the Dodger’s side this year.

With the Dodgers trailing 1-0, Rollins collected their first hit of the 2015 season with a ground ball single that went just under Clint Barme’s glove. The Dodgers wouldn’t be able to score him though.

The Dodgers rallied in the fourth inning to take the lead. Adrian Gonzalez led off the frame with a solo home run that hooked just inside the right field foul pole, landing over the low wall. Then Howie Kendrick would triple over Myer’s head. Carl Crawford’s double would score him to put the club ahead 2-1. 

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  • Kershaw still gave the Dodgers a quality start though. However he did allow four extra base hits, all of them doubles. The Padres got a one-out double from Derek Norris in the third inning, but couldn’t score him. But in the fifth, they got to Kershaw.

    Barmes led-off the inning with a double. Shields was unable to advance him and struck out. Then the second of two Dodger defensive lapses came back to hurt them. The San Diego catcher Norris, would hit a grounder to third, but Uribe couldn’t get him, and the backstop beats the throw for an infield single. With runners at the corners, Kemp would line a double to left that scored both runners and gave the Padres a 3-2 lead.

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Kershaw would pitch six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits. He walked two and whiffed nine, and hit a batter. His line was very similar to the line of his opposing starter Shields. Big games James pitched six innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, with two walks, and eight strike outs. Shields made 95 pitches, and Kershaw made 99 pitches.

    So neither starter were involved in the final decision. That turned the game into a battle of the bullpens. The Dodger’s bullpen passed the test with flying colors. The newly reworked Dodger pen threw three scoreless frames. Yimi Garcia, Joel Peralta, and Chris Hatcher allowed just one hit combined, and struck out three with no walks over the final three frames. It was Hatcher who closed out the ninth to record his first save as a Dodger.

    The club had to rally in the bottom of the seventh to tie it up. With Shields out of the game, the Dodgers were able to take advantage off of the San Diego bullpen. With right hander Nick Vincent on the mound, Gonzalez’s two-out double started to turn the momentum back into the Dodger’s favor. Then Kendrick’s bloop double to right scored Gonzo to tie up the score at 3-3.

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The Dodgers got Will Middlebrooks to hit into a key double play to end the top of the eighth, and keep the game tied. Then the Dodgers took control of the game in the bottom of the eighth. Joc Pederson started the rally with a walk. Unfortunately A.J. Ellis was unable to bunt Pederson over to second, popping up the bunt.

    Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier reaches on an error. San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso bobbled Dre’s easy grounder, and Kelley missed the bag. With two on, Rollins worked the count, fouled off some pitches, and then blasted a booming three-run home run down the right field line, landing inside the foul pole in the same area as Gonzo’s fourth inning blast. Rollin’s first home run in Dodger Blue was the deciding blow.

    Hatcher game in to shut the hatch so to speak, in the top of the ninth. After hitting Gyorko with a pitch, he got Alonso to ground into a double play. The final out was a strikeout of Alexi Amarista. The Dodgers win on opening day by a final score of 6-3!

    Pederson had a good game. The youngster went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, and a run scored in his first opening day test. He also made a great tumbling catch as well. Gonzalez was the butter and egg man again. The veteran had three hits, going 3 for 5 with a home run, single, and a double. Kendrick went 2 for 4 with a triple. Rollins was 2 for 4 as well, with the big blast in the eighth that broke the game open. Yasiel Puig had a rough day, going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a hit by pitch.

    Don Mattingly may have made two mistakes during the game. In the first inning after Myers had stolen second base, he did not call for a replay. A.J.’s throw was offline, but it appeared that Kendrick may have tagged Myers on the foot. Myers would end up scoring.

    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The second mistake was allowing Ellis to bunt in that big eight inning. You never want to give away outs late in games like that. Those are far too precious to just give to the opposition. Thankfully the Dodgers still came away with the victory.

    Reliever Joel Peralta ended up credited with the win, and Kelley took the loss. Hatcher picks up his first save in Blue, and home runs in the game from Gonzalez, and Rollins.

    For a club that rarely if ever came from behind last year, this is a very encouraging beginning to the season. Our 162 game journey continues tomorrow. We hope you will join us along for the ride. Lanky right hander Tyson Ross will counter Zack Greinke at 7:10 PM. Let’s keep the good times “rollin” shall we? Go Blue!

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