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Monday, April 16, 2012

An Excellent Start: Dodgers 5, Padres 4

I have thus far resisted talking much about the Dodgers, of whom I expected little this year, but their 9-1 start after today makes that impossible. You can insert homilies about it being early and all, but Jon sounds the right note that neither the Pirates nor the Padres are going to play .100 ball all year long. We rightly need to celebrate this achievement, even if it is short-lived.

Despite what turned out to be a locally bad outing for Clayton Kershaw — his three walks surrendered in the sixth doomed his chances of getting a win — he nonetheless wasn't terrible. The game's highlight surely had to be the 2-5-6-3 triple play turned in by a quick-thinking A.J. Ellis. Dee Gordon, in the middle of that, later hit a two-out walkoff single to end the game. It may not last, but it's fun while it's going.

As a sidebar, here's a 2007 piece by Colby Cosh on the topic of Jackie Robinson:

On conventional offence alone, he would be a credible Hall of Fame candidate -- but he created his runs while playing mostly at the key defensive position of second base, and he probably won as many games without swinging the bat as any non-pitcher who ever played. His baserunning feats are the best-known part of his game. Teammate and Brooklyn hero Johnny Podres tells a story of Robinson reaching first base, announcing to Cub pitcher Sad Sam Jones "I'm stealing second, Sam," breaking with the next pitch, and immediately doing the same thing at third and home, shattering Jones' nerves so badly with his soft-spoken threats that the hurler concluded the sequence with a wild pitch. It's the kind of tale that gets told often by old ballplayers, and it may not be literally true, but it is universally agreed that Robinson's basestealing exploits had a crippling effect on the opposition. He was also a superb bunter, and despite the early knocks on his unpolished defence -- the Dodgers played him at first for a year before switching him to the pivot -- his fielding statistics have held up to analysis at four different positions, and he was clearly in a near-elite class with the glove at second.

ESPN BoxDodgers recap

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