The Los Angeles Dodgers opened the 2022 regular season in Colorado against the Rockies last Friday. This is a season where it’s yet again a World Series or bust for LA; especially after signing MVP and All-Star first baseman, Freddie Freeman.
Baseball analysts at large are calling this one of the best lineups they’ve ever seen to open a season, and the team as a whole is one of the deepest the Dodgers’ franchise has ever fielded. Despite all that hype, it was a disappointing opening series in Colorado as the Dodgers dropped two games out of three and were outscored by six runs between the 2nd and 3rd games.
It’s still just the first series of the year, but the Dodgers need to ensure that they don’t start playing down to their competition as the season gets going.
This was a series that unsurprisingly saw the Dodgers as heavy favorites against the pitiful Rockies. However, LA found Colorado to be a much tougher foe than anyone initially expected.
The Rockies led in all three games of this series and held the Dodgers to no more than five runs in any game.
The opening game was the only one which LA took for a W. The Dodgers fell behind 2-0 early but rode a five-run 4th inning to a 5-3 victory. That 4th inning was really the only time in the series that the Dodgers’ bats looked truly impressive.
Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’ opening day starter, went just 5 innings and allowed 2 earned runs but pitched well enough to get the win behind the offensive support he received. The new Dodger closer, Craig Kimbrel, earned the save despite giving up a run in the 9th.
Game two was a back and forth affair which saw the Rockies victorious 3-2 in the end. Credit goes to an excellent outing by Colorado starter German Marquez who hung tough through 7 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and racking up five strikeouts.
Marquez didn’t get credit for the win as the Dodgers tied it up in the top of the 8th on Betts’ RBI single, but Rockies’ first baseman Connor Joe gave his team the lead again on a go-ahead homer in the bottom half and the Rockies locked it down in the 9th for a 3-2 win.
The Dodgers struggled as a unit offensively as the only extra-base hit came from Austin Barnes via a 453 foot home run and had only one hit with runners in scoring position.
The third game of the series was even worse as the Dodgers’ pitching came off the rails early, allowing six runs in the first three innings. That early offense from the Rockies was due in large part to a poor defensive play by utility man Chris Taylor, whose error in left field allowed the Rockies to score their first couple runs.
After the Rockies went up 6-0 in the 3rd; they never looked back. The Rockies’ pitching was strong enough to win as only four Dodgers crossed the plate; three on an error by Kris Bryant, coincidently also in left field. The Dodgers found themselves on the short end of a 9-4 rubber game result and have begun their season 1-2 after the first series.
Obviously it’s just the first three games of the year and there’s no reason to be hitting the panic button, but this series did not inspire confidence. The Dodgers struggled to score runs consistently in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the league and were outscored by Colorado 15-11 in total.
The Dodgers will remain on the road for a two game set with the Minnesota Twins before returning home for their home opener against the Cincinnati Reds; the first of a seven game home-stand.
The Dodgers need to use the next several games to prove that opening weekend was a fluke and this team is here to dominate the National League West as well as the National League in general.
The hype and expectations around this team are such that anything other than victory in the World Series is a disappointment. The Dodgers may have the swagger and the big-name stars, but it doesn’t mean anything if they can’t win at the rate they’re expected to as well as beat up on teams like the Rockies with consistency.
With the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants also both considered contenders in the NL West, the Dodgers have their work cut out for them down the stretch and they need to bounce back after this tough first series.