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March 24, 2014

Painting the Black

Men at Work

by R.J. Anderson


While the east coast slept early Saturday morning and late Saturday evening, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened the season with a two-game series in Sydney, Australia. The time-zone difference is 15 hours, meaning normal start times in Australia (1 and 7 p.m.) became abnormal stateside (4 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST). Because not everyone disrupted their sleep patterns to watch two baseball games, here are some insights on what happened during those two games down under.

Game One: Dodgers win 3-1.
The story of the first game was Clayton Kershaw. The National League's reigning Cy Young winner failed to match his Opening Day performance from last year, when he threw a shutout against the defending world champions, but he pitched as well as one could be expected to given the circumstances. Kershaw's day at the office saw him face 27 batters, yield five hits, one walk, and a run, and strike out seven. More than 70 percent of Kershaw's pitches were strikes, and about a third of the swings the D'Backs took connected with air, not horsehide. It was, in short, a good way to start the year.

Kershaw is at once a great talent and horrible model. He's either the game's best pitcher, or good enough that nobody quibbles with handing him the title: he ranks first in ERA+ and OPS against, and third in innings pitched among pitchers with 500-plus innings the past three seasons—oh, and he's the sixth-youngest of the 50 qualified starters. Those elite results stem from some of the game's best stuff: our own Steffan Segui

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Related Content:  Arizona Diamondbacks,  Los Angeles Dodgers,  Opening Day

7 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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surfdent48

Wade Miley's 5 innings and 3 runs in game 1 is not exactly "solid".

Mar 24, 2014 07:37 AM
rating: 0
 
jwise224

Perhaps "solid" doesn't sit well with you, but considering his 8 K's in 5 IP is his highest K/IP ratio of his career and that he made the start somewhat unexpectedly when Corbin went down with little time to adjust his schedule, and that the two-run homer that beat him was fair by two feet and over the fence by a smaller margin, one could choose a worse word than "solid."

Mar 24, 2014 08:57 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member R.J. Anderson
BP staff

Surfdent, I understand your objection but I disagree. I think Miley pitched better than his runs allowed column indicates.

The first run stemmed from Trumbo's misplay in left field. Had Trumbo caught the ball (and he should have) then Miley might have escaped without allowing a run. I won't say it was a given, because there's no telling how things play out, but it's hard for me to blame that sequence of events on Miley and Miley alone, even if the ball was fairly well struck.

Meanwhile, the other two runs came on a ball that just escaped the fence and avoided the pole, as jwise wrote. I would also note that it was on a fastball up and off the plate away. That's generally not a location where a pitcher is going to get burned like that, so I felt some sympathy for him in that regard.

Obviously those runs scored and you can't hand wave them away. I just think he was better on Saturday night than you might glean based on his runs allowed and that, if he pitches like that most nights, the D'Backs will be happy with the results over the long haul.

Mar 24, 2014 13:38 PM
 
jwise224

The dinger was more a function of good hitting from Van Slyke than a mistake by Miley. He was limited to few pitches since he was on a funky schedule thanks to the Corbin injury or we could have seen 6+ IP from him.

Mar 24, 2014 13:47 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member R.J. Anderson
BP staff

Yeah. I think that's fair. I thought he outpitched Ryu (and obviously Cahill), so even with the circumstances at hand he had a successful outing.

Mar 24, 2014 15:24 PM
 
randolph3030

I wonder if anybody has Bo Schultz in the Reliever League. Nobody does in my pool and Craig Counsell got drafted.

Mar 24, 2014 16:40 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Sam Miller
BP staff

Assuming his name wasn't misspelled by whoever picked him, the answer is no, nobody has Bo Schultz in the Reliever League.

Mar 24, 2014 17:28 PM
 
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Premium Article Minor League Update: S... (03/24)
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Painting the Black: Th... (03/21)
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Premium Article Notes from the Field: ... (03/24)

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