Blue in the Bay: Dodgers Edge Giants in Season Opening Series
Every week this baseball season, Blue in the Bay breaks down the heated rivalry with assessments of both teams. Think of it as a power rankings of sorts, only between two teams, and from an obtusely biased perspective of a Dodgers fan living in San Francisco. Don't worry, I'll give the Giants credit where it's due, which shouldn't be much from a team destined for last place in the NL West. -- Oscar Pascual
There's nothing quite as mysterious as opening day at Dodgers Stadium. An air of excitement and optimism buzzed throughout the historic ballpark's capacity crowd of 56 thousand. Jeff Kent started the season on a strong note, cracking a two-run homer in the first against Barry Zito. The reviled Giants went scoreless against solid pitching and defense. And an ocean of lovely blue covered Chavez Ravine on a sunny spring afternoon, ruined only slightly by a minute smattering of a horrid shade of orange -- the shade that resembles an infant's loose stool.
This beautiful day could not even be sullied by getting stuck in traffic on the I-5, hearing the crowd roar to Kent's homer from the parking lot, getting into the ballpark in the third inning, and waiting in line for a Dodger Dog until the fifth. Only the Giants could have ruined the day, and they were about as impressive as Stephen Hawkings' singing voice.
Joe Torre's winning ways extended on to the next game, as Rafael Furcal scored the deciding run all the way from second base, thanks be to those clumsy Giant gloves in the infield. The Dodgers' parade would literally get rained on during the final game, as the Dodgers saved their ace-in-the-making Chad Billingsley due to the threat of inclement weather. The Giants, in need of a win like a crackhead needs a crack hit, decided to expose bright prospect Tim Lincecum to the elements after an hour-plus rain delay, escaping the evening with a 2-1 win.
With the Dodgers getting the best of the Giants this series, the better team of the week is obviously the Blue. But let's start with the bad, as I assess the far reaches of crapiness that Giants baseball manages to stretch towards:
-- C'mon, Bengie Molina is the cleanup hitter? He hit at the bottom of the order during his championship run with the Angels. That schmuck would bat seventh or eighth on any other ball club.
-- This defense is horrible. Ray Durham and Rich Aurilia are old, washed-up hacks that lost the second game of the series all by themselves. Brian Bocock is no Omar Visquel, and I'm sure he got teased ruthlessly as a kid for that ridiculous last name. Insert an "L" craftily in there and you've got a seriously life-scarring name to call a kid.
-- Except for the pitching, the Giants are really, really old. That's all I have to say about that.
-- The only shining point about the Giants are their young guns Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. Cain was on one end of a spectacular pitcher's duel against Derek Lowe in game 2 and it's a shame those old coots lost the game for him. Lincecum threw hard in the midst of a light sprinkle, and bailed himself out of a few jams that could have led to a series sweep. These two are the only reasons to watch a Giants game.
Now the Dodgers:
-- Joe Torre has definitely brought his winning ways to the Dodgers. He made decisions to win games, not to appease player egos like Grady Little did. Torre pulled Brad Penny just one out away from escaping the seventh inning, even with a five-run cushion. I like your style, Joe.
-- Andruw Jones has quickly earned an entry on my shitlist. He earns the second largest salary on the squad and couldn't even score in some runs. The only time I saw him hit was when no one was on base. That glove's pretty good, though.
-- James Loney hits better than the entire Giants lineup combined.
-- Blake DeWitt at the hot corner is a welcome surprise. I'll take 5-for-9 hitting any series, Nomar or not.
-- Russell Martin needs to get it going, but I'm not too worried about this All-Star.
There you have it. Next week, I'll have analysis on the Giants as they take on the Brewers, Padres, and Cards, as well as the Dodgers' fortune against the Pads and Pirates. Who knows, as much crap as I talk, San Diego might pwn us both.