The Dodgers opened the shortened 60-game season at home against the San Francisco Giants without 3x Cy Young pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the mound who was placed on the injured list hours before the first pitch.
Before the national anthem, a chilling moment of unity took place when players and coaches on both teams kneeled in unity and solidarity in support of the black lives matter movement. Major League Baseball along with the Players Association, joined forces also adding black lives matter patches on the sleeves of players and coaches jerseys.
Dodgers newly acquired outfielder Mookie Betts who signed a 12-year, $365 million contract extension Wednesday showed his support for equality and the black lives matter movement by taking a knee during the national anthem while teammates Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy stood by Betts in support each placing a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s just unity, everyone’s on the same team, we’re here for a change,” said Betts. “Definitely doesn’t surprise me that Bellinger and Muncy were there with me.”
When asked about comments in 2015 Betts made about kneeling showing as a sign of disrespect to those who served our country including his own father. Betts acknowledges he is now more educated on the issue, “kneeling has nothing to do with those who served our country. It has to do with injustice,” said Betts.
22-year-old Dustin May was optioned off the roster just days before but got the nod from Manager Dave Roberts early Thursday to fill-in for the 12-year veteran, Kershaw.
“It’s kind of the thing you dream about, throwing on opening day”, said May.
“[Dustin’s] a guy that’s unflappable”, said Roberts. “To kind of get the ambushed notice the day before opening day and not be unfazed was pretty great to watch.”
The young right-hander hit 100mph in his 2020 debut pitching 4 ⅓ innings allowing 1 run and 4 strikeouts. May ran into trouble in the third inning once facing the Giant rotation for a second time.
May gave up a run to Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval scoring a run on a sac fly during the top of the third inning with the bases loaded. With the inning on the verge of getting out of hand, May managed to escape the jam without further damage.
Kike Hernandez was red hot for the dodgers in the opener. Hernandez homered and drove in five runs, stream rolling the high-octane offense to a win, which was held quiet until the seventh inning.
“Staying consistent and not trying to do too much is what I focused on tonight,” said Hernandez. “I had to remind myself you don’t have to do too much to drive the ball.”
“I don’t think we had a great night offensively and that just shows the talent we have,” said Roberts. “Kike carried us tonight which was great.”
Mookie Betts went 1-for-5 in his Dodger debut and will look to build on his performance Friday night.
Ross Stripling will get the start on the mound for Game 2 against the Giants.