Archives for the month of: April, 2023
Clayton Kershaw joined the 200-Win Club on Tuesday night (April 18).

We teeter over the brink to below .500 … again — the Mets just beat us, 5-3, on Wednesday (April 19) BOX SCORE — the main takeaway of the season so far is, “It doesn’t matter how good our starters are, or how many homers we hit, or how many double plays we execute if our bullpen is just going to start pitching batting practice in the last three innings.”

Last night (April 18), I saw a gem of a Clayton Kershaw start: 7 innings, 9 Ks, 3 hits and no runs. It was beautiful, and he got run support, as well, earning him his 200th career victory, 5-0, over the Mets. BOX SCORE For once this season, the bullpen was solid, like they knew Vin Scully (who was the night’s honoree with a swag Jersey giveaway) was watching. 

But that only evened our record at 9-9, since the dreaded Cubbies won the weekend series (CHI 8-LAD 2 on Friday, LAD 2-CHI 1 Saturday, and CHI 3-LAD 2 Sunday), and the Mets nipped the opener on Monday night (April 17). A very eventful 8-6 affair in which J.D. Martinez went long twice only to see our 6-5 edge disappear with the arrival of reliever Alex Vesia on the mound. BOX SCORE Boy, did he and Phil Bickford really stink up the joint! Bickford balked in the tying run before throwing one pitch! But those loaded bases fall squarely on Vesia’s shoulders.

Aside from the groans when virtually any reliever is announced, the games this week have been fun to attend. Sometimes, when I’m walking on the Top Deck concourse, I feel like a teenager again, recalling those springs and summers when I covered all kinds of sports for the Valley News & Green Sheet. It makes me miss my dad, but in a good way. 

He hired me at 17 as a full-time member of the Green Sheet’s Sports Dept., a rare thing for a girl in 1973. Now, it’s 50 years later, there are a lot of female sports reporters. A woman is a heartbeat away from the presidency. And yet, we are reminded every day that the world is still pretty much run by old white dudes.

Next Taco Tuesday, maybe we’ll see, “MALE MARIACHI GARIBALDI” on the ribbon board.

Yeah, probably not.

The struggle for a world that’s right and truly gender-blind rages on.
Mariachi Las Catrinas perform at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday (April 18).
My fellow Aries, Andre Ethier, celebrates today (April 10)!

Are this year’s Dodgers really doomed to go up and down constantly throughout the season until they wind up in the middle of the pack watching the Diamondbacks or Padres go to the playoffs? Can that really be the case?

I messed up the other day when I talked about how great our starting pitching is. (Jinx much, Pam?) I knocked on wood and everything! So now there’s no stopping hitters from all the other teams just trouncing us mercilessly, I guess.

We started off well Thursday (April 6) with a 5-2 win over the D’backs in Arizona. BOX SCORE I only kind of half-watched it around the latest episode of “Ted Lasso.” But Dustin May had another quality start, so that’s the only bright light in an otherwise dismal series in Phoenix.

On Friday (April 7), they nipped us, 6-3, with Clayton Kershaw not having his best appearance on the mound. But we were still in a one-run game until reliever Yency Almonte gave them an extra two runs in the bottom of the 8th. BOX SCORE

My hunch is that Kersh isn’t adjusting to the dreaded pitch clock well. He has a very deliberate and calculating delivery. It takes him a few moments to aim his slider just right. He likes to take a little stroll around the mound after stunning a batter with a delicious eephus. He’s also one of the best guys to pick off players at first that has ever played the game. So this rushed pressure of counting down the seconds is really (pardonnez mon français) FUCKED! It takes all the beauty and artful consideration out of pitching. Now it’s just hurl it and hope for the best, hurl it and hope for the best! (Plus, with all the talk of bigger bases and only two throws to first allowed, I have only seen one attempt at a stolen base this whole season! You’re destroying the most beautiful game, MLB assholes!)

My birthday (April 8) saw a wild one! Thor (Noah Syndergaard) pitched about as well as Chris Hemsworth would have. Staked to a 4-0 lead in the first, he wasn’t throwing lightning bolts, that’s for sure. Arizona took him for 8 hits and 6 earned runs in four innings. We ended up losing, 12-8. BOX SCORE

And then on Sunday (April 9), the Snakes sealed the series win with an 11-6 drubbing. Michael Grove gave up 9 runs on 9 hits in the first 3.1 innings. Yikes! BOX SCORE

Can we right the ship? Is that awful timebomb of a pitch clock going to destroy America’s Pastime altogether? We have 152 more Dodger games to go. We’ll see.

A couple days ago, I was looking at the Nextdoor app to see what was going on with neighbors, porch thefts, lost animals, etc., and I saw terrified (multi-exclamation-pointed) posts about the tremendous roar of fighter jets passing low over Echo Park. “What did it mean? Are we at war?” Silly newbies! It’s Dodgers Opening Day!!!

Blue is definitely the predominant color in my neighborhood. When I used to take the bus home late at night from The Times, I always wore Dodger T-shirts or an LA beanie to let the homies on Echo Park Avenue know I was one of them. Now, the incoming hipsters are learning how important the Boys in Blue are to Echo Park. One trendy new bar is even offering free drinks to a certain sidelined shortstop. (Across the street from the gas station where I met Gavin Lux last year.)

This past week, the Dodgers have played 6 games and won 4 of them. Sunday (April 2), after going into the 9th tied, 1-1, reliever Brusdar Graterol screwed the pooch, and they lost to the D’backs, 2-1. But the good news was that starter Noah Syndergaard had a stellar 6-inning, 6K Dodger debut. BOX SCORE  

On Monday (April 3), Stephen and I climbed to our seats in the top row of the Top Deck, braving hurricane winds and icy temps, only to watch one inning and then leave because we were so freaking uncomfortable. We slunk off to the warmth of our little home, 1 mile away, and watched the rest of the game on TV. The final score was 13-4 over the Rockies. BOX SCORE 

And then last night (April 4), Stephen couldn’t come to the game with me due to other obligations, so he dropped me at the stadium to get the swag (2 hooded sweatshirts). 

I was supposed to watch a few innings, and then Stephen would pick me up. But I was having so much fun with my good friend Liz that I ended up watching the entire game! All 2 hours 25 minutes of it!

Julio Urías pitched great! He even got himself out of a no-outs, bases-loaded jam that looked like curtains for our boys early on. Thank heavens for double plays! 

All our runs were the result of homers (by Will Smith, Jason Heyward and Max Muncy). It looked like we were cruising to a 5-0 shutout, but reliever Phil Bickford did not have his best day. He started giving up runs in the top of the 9th, and it was too painful to watch, so I went to the bathroom. By the time I got out, “I Love L.A.” was blaring from the speakers, and Dodgertown was happy once more. Final score, 5-2. BOX SCORE

The main takeaway, in my opinion, about the first week of Dodger Baseball 2023, is that our starting pitching has been quite solid. (Knock on wood!) That’s a very good thing, because our bats are, game by game, either spicy hot or icy cold, so a good starter is the only thing that will keep us in the game during a freeze snap. Now, let’s hope our bullpen can rise to the occasion!