Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Unsung Hero in the Home Opener

Dee Gordon singles.  He steals second.  Mark Ellis grounds to the right side advancing Gordon to third.  Matt Kemp puts the ball in play and Gordon races home.  1-0 Dodgers.
Mark Ellis hits the ball to the right side in the 1st inning, moving Dee Gordon over to third base.

How many times will we see this sequence of events this year? 20? 30? Dare I say 40?
Well , we’ve seen it twice now in five games.  If the top of the lineup continues to produce like that, this will be a year to remember.  As much as many want A.J. Ellis hitting second, I’m all for keeping Mark Ellis right there.
It takes a special player to fill the number two hitter role in that sequence of events.   Junior Gilliam made a living doing it, and he is remembered as one of the the unselfish players ever to put on a Dodger uniform. Mark Ellis fits in that category too.  After 5 games, Ellis is batting only .158 and I’ll take that  if continues being the unselfish player that he is and gets that runner over.  Playing a flawless second base, he turned two to finish the game today while being taken out by the hard charging Alex Presley.  
We are going to love Ellis this year who already has contributed in the first five games (four of which he played) without putting up big numbers.  His role has been vital in at least two wins.
On the day, Ellis was 0-4 with 3 ground outs and a strikeout, but the intangibles that aren’t found in the box score are what makes him valuable.  It isn’t easy hitting a ground ball to the right side, especially when everyone knows that is exactly what you are trying to do.  Mark gets it done anyway.
Other Opening day notes:
Photo by Chris Carlson AP

Andre Ethier’s eighth inning home run was clutch and something that we hopefully see again and again this year.  It wasn’t a walk-off, but about as close as you can get to one.  Ethier’s magic from a few seasons ago would be a welcome sight in 2012.

Peter O'Malley and sister Terry Seidler toss ceremonial first pitch

It was a wonderful gesture to have Terry Seidler, daughter of Walter and Kay O'Malley throw out the first pitch.  

Clayton Kershaw saw no ill effects from the opening day flu bug.  Regularly tossing his fastball in the mid-90s, Clayton was a victim of a lack of run support.  He threw seven innings of 4 hit ball, with 7 strikeouts and no walks, giving up a run in the 7th inning that cost him the decision.

Kenley Jansen is dealing again.  It is reported that the coaching staff spotted a flaw in his delivery and since his opening day jitters, Jansen has thrown 3 shut out innings striking out four.  Kudos to Rick Honeycutt and Ken Howell for spotting the problem through video tape review.  Apparently his lower body mechanics were off, effecting his velocity.

Juan Uribe went 3 for 3 three with a trio of singles, moving his batting average up to a respectable .267.  Unfortunately none of his hits had any impact on the scoring as James Loney continues to struggle, now 0-14 on the season.

Tomorrow Chad Billingsley (1-0, 0.00)  goes for his second win in a row against Pirate starting lefty Eric Bedard (0-1, 1.29).   

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