The Los Angeles Dodgers started their season on a high note, securing an 8-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is the first of a four-game series against Arizona.
In his first opening day start, Julio Urías became the winning pitcher after slinging for six innings, only allowing four hits and two runs while making six strikeouts.
“The thing about [Urías] is he minimized damage, got some double plays,” said Dodgers general manager Dave Roberts. “Kept the pitch count down.”
Opening day started slow for the Dodgers as batters struggled to hit Zac Gallen’s pitches. Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker would put Arizona on the board with an RBI single. Gabriel Moreno would give the D-Backs their second run with a sacrifice fly.
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Urías noted how he could have been “cutting the fastball too much” early in the game.
The Dodgers start their 2023 season with a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks pic.twitter.com/X8s62c95SG
— Amanda Scurlock (@Amandtastic) March 31, 2023
“I felt like myself on the mound a little more after the first two innings,” Urías said. “I was able to be a little bit more successful in the last innings.”
Dodgers catcher Will Smith tied the game in the third inning with a 2RBI single.
“That finally got us on the board, we had pressure the whole night,” Smith said. “They just killed you with their pitchers, it was nice for us that I got to do that.”
Smith lifted the Dodgers over the D-Backs with an RBI single in the fifth inning. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez earned his first RBI as a Dodger two batters later. The Dodgers were then up 4-2 over the Diamondbacks.
Left fielder David Peralta also secured an RBI single before the inning was over, whenever a Dodgers player made a hit and reached a base, they would pump one arm as though they were pulling a train whistle.
“I told the guys you have to get on board the freight train,” Peralta said. “The guys, they were on board, now we’re gonna go for it.”
The Dodgers outfielders caught balls in the air and contained Arizona. At the top of the sixth, right fielder Mookie Betts caught a hit by Ketel Marte and connected with shortstop Miguel Rojas in time to tag him out at second.
When it was the Dodgers turn at bat, James Outman secured an RBI homerun. He mentioned how he was nervous prior to the game and repressed his nerves once the matchup started.
“Being nervous beforehand was not gonna help out any,” Outman said. “When nerves start taking over, bad things happen.”
While Smith was at bat during the eighth, Arizona pitcher Kevin Ginkel made a clock-violation.
“[Ginkel] came to set a little too early and the umpire, they were trying to protect the hitter, not letting the pitchers quick pitch,” Smith said. “So he became upset a little bit.”
Smith made a sacrifice fly, which gave the Dodgers the eighth run of the night.
The Dodgers utilized four pitchers with Yency Almonte closing the game, he threw seven strikes out of ten pitches.
Young players like Outman and Vargas helped secure the Dodgers first 2023 victory. Roberts hopes it’s “a sign of things to come.”
“It was a really well executed game plan, one through nine, I thought it was very good team defense,” Roberts said. “Running counts, taking walks when needed, taking extra bases.”
The Dodgers are back in action against the Diamondbacks on Friday at 7:10pm.