Two Shohei Ohtani Dodgers firsts headline a quiet start to Seoul Series Game 1

2024 Seoul Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
2024 Seoul Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Chung Sung-Jun/GettyImages

It's Opening Day for the Dodgers and Padres, who kicked off the 2024 season at a crisp 3:05 AM PST from Seoul, South Korea. Even 'hotly anticipated' seems like an understatement when attempting to describe the hype surrounding this series, which marks the first MLB games played in Korea, the return of KBO star Ha-Seong Kim to his home country, and the Dodgers debuts of Shohei Ohtani, Tyler Glasnow, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

All eyes have been on Ohtani from the moment he stepped off the plane in Seoul. Just like the reception he got at Dodgers spring training, the crowd in the Gocheok Sky Dome roared each time he came to the plate, and phones were taken out and held at the ready, waiting for him to do something newsworthy. His first at-bat was unremarkable — he grounded into a force out that got him to first but had Mookie Betts out at second — but his second finally gave the Dodgers some momentum after an otherwise quiet first few innings from the offense.

In the top of the third, Ohtani got his first hit as a Dodger down. He quickly followed it up with another first, stealing during Freddie Freeman's at-bat. Freeman stayed perfectly still and took a pitch while Ohtani ran, gliding easily into second. Padres catcher Luis Campusano's throw had less than zero chance of beating him to the bag.

Shohei Ohtani's first hit, steal as a Dodger highlight quiet, low-scoring first innigns of Game 1 of Seoul Series

Despite some early struggles from both pitchers, who were failing to locate their breaking and off-speed pitches and were getting no help from home plate umpire Lance Barksdale, Glasnow and Padres' ace Yu Darvish kept both offenses relatively quiet. Darvish loaded the bases in the top of the third after Ohtani's single and steal, giving up two consecutive walks to Freeman and Will Smith, but managed to get Max Muncy swinging to end the side.

The Padres scored first on a Xander Bogaerts single on the flip side of the inning, then the Dodgers struck back on a Jason Heyward sac fly at the top of the fourth. Walks plagued both Glasnow and Darvish, but both were able to work out of sticky loaded bases situations and keep damage relatively mild.

Despite a quiet opening to the season so far, Ohtani chomping at the bit to steal spells very good things for a Dodgers team that hasn't run enough in recent years. With his focus solely on hitting until further notice, could a 40-40 season be in the works? It certainly seems possible.