Dodgers absolutely destroying Padres in 1st spring training inning sets tone for '24

Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training
Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training / Masterpress/GettyImages

On the face of things, Padres ace Joe Musgrove starting the first Cactus League game against the Dodgers should've been an at least slightly intimidating prospect, especially when he wasn't expected to face the full force of the Dodgers' superstar lineup.

LA had four of their bigger names at the top, but things petered out after Austin Barnes owned the fifth spot in the lineup.

However, after a walk to Mookie Betts, a single given up to Chris Taylor, James Outman getting a fastball to the leg, and a Teoscar Hernández ground-rule double that was oh-so-enticingly close to leaving the park, Musgrove headed back to the dugout with his head hanging, the score 2-0 Dodgers with zero outs.

Ruh-roh, Padres.

Dodgers trounce Padres with an 8-0 lead in the first inning in Cactus League opener

Things didn't get any better when the Friars sent out prospect Carter Loewen to the mound. He did manage to sit Barnes down on a slightly suspicious called third strike, but when the Padres should've staunched the bleeding, they instead nicked an artery. Gavin Lux walked, non-roster invitee Chris Ownings hit another ground rule double, Andy Pages singled, and then Kevin Padlo, another NRI, cleared the bases with a two-run home run to put the Dodgers' eighth run of the first inning on the board.

Padres pitcher Gabe Mosser was finally able to get weak contact from Betts and Taylor to retire the side, but not before the Dodgers decisively put this game's win probability in their corner and gave the Padres a lot to be worried about before they have to face the Dodgers in Seoul, less than a month from now.

At the bottom of the first inning, Gavin Stone neatly sat down Fernando Tatis Jr. on a swinging strike, then got Jake Cronenworth and Xander Bogaerts to fly out for a significantly shorter side of the inning. It's still early, but this is looking like very, very good news for the Dodgers, who will see the Padres more than any other team during the regular season this year.

How's that for a 2024 tone setter without Shohei Ohtani?