The matchup: Dodgers vs Marlins (4.25.16)
Special Guest: My buddy Matt. Check out his Star Wars short on Funny or Die.
Snacks: Dodger Dog, regular fries, some of Matt’s fries, churro (for a hand warmer), some of Matt’s peanuts.
Giveaway: Clayton Kershaw bobblehead.
Memorable Moment: The return of Don Mattingly.
RECAP: The Dodgers returned to Chavez Ravine after a quick 4 and 2 road trip to Atlanta and Denver and brought some gnarly weather back home with them. And we’re talking gnarly by hearty Midwestern standards. Not “Oh no, a dead palm fond fell on my Prius.”
About 45 minutes before game time, a howling wind had the giant flags in center field as stiff as boards, sending rain (yes rain!) flying in every direction and fans running for cover. Things calmed down enough so that everyone returned to their seats in time for the official introduction of Don Mattingly as the manager of the Marlins.
DodgerVision played a montage of assorted highlights from Donnie Baseball’s years in blue set to the theme song for Welcome Back Kotter, a rather melancholy selection. Don was greeted with respectful applause and a smattering of (mostly) ironic boos.
Ross Stripling held the Marlins scoreless until Giancarlo Stanton led off the top of the fourth by sending the crowd at the left field bar running for cover with a cruise missile of a solo home run. Yasiel Puig and Trayce Thompson countered with shots of their own in the bottom half of the inning to put the Dodgers ahead 2-1. Stanton didn’t have to wait long to strike back. He raked a tying double to the wall in the fifth and the Marlins pulled ahead for good an inning later when Puig came up about half a mile short in his attempt to spear Derek Dietrich’s line drive triple out of the sky.
In the bottom of the seventh, Donnie received his most sincere greeting of the evening when he came out to replace starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. The only way he could have been booed any harder is if he would have called for a double switch (his signature move) that involved Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds trotting out to play left field. While I like Mattingly, I couldn’t help but laugh at the years of pent up angst raining down upon him.
Over in the Dodger Dugout, Dave Roberts maximized the used chewing gum that was available pitch out of the bullpen and emptied the bench in the most strategic way he could, saving Adrian Gonzales until the bottom of the ninth to pinch hit with Joc Pederson standing on first.
The Dodgers came up short but tonight is a new night and Clayton Kershaw is on the mound.
And hopefully this guy won’t be at the ballpark.