Something strange happened this week. The first time through my rotation, my five starters gave up a total of one run. The one run belonged to Jose Fernandez (otherwise the miscreant might be booted from my rotation).
Across the majors, in the few games that have been played, pitching has been good so far. Very good. The league-average ERA is 3.31.
To some extent, that makes sense. Pitchers’ arms are healthier now than they will be in September. Some teams have only played two games, meaning they have used only their top two starters — and seen their opponents’ top two. The best pitchers in the world, all those Opening Day starters including Clayton Kershaw, have all pitched once.
The Dodgers aren’t immune to the phenomenon. Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Dan Haren have allowed a total of three runs in the club’s first five games. That’s encouraging. They will need more encouragement from starters five and six, Paul Maholm and Josh Beckett, while Kershaw rests his bad back. Maholm starts Saturday against the San Francisco Giants.
It’s easy to dismiss the dominance of pitchers, but we might be witnessing the makings of a trend. This season could be a down year for hitting. While they’ve pitched well, the Dodgers are collectively hitting .229. Want to guess where that ranks among the 30 teams? Fourteenth. Sixteen clubs have batted .223 or worse in the early part of the season.
Those numbers will get better, but you wonder when we’ll see the first no-hitter of the season. It might not be long. Former Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang lost one in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 1-0 win over Milwaukee last night. So did his opponent, Matt Garza. Harang and Garza aren’t elite pitchers anymore, but they were elite Wednesday.
Let’s see if this trend continues.
Some bullet points for a Tweed Day:
• Dodger ticket sales are up 18 percent compared to last year on StubHub. Since they have the largest seating capacity in all of MLB, it’s no surprise that they have the highest-selling opening day on StubHub this year. The second-best selling Dodgers home game on StubHub is next Monday, a zip-up hoodie giveaway when the Detroit Tigers visit. The June 15 game against the Diamondbacks ranks third.
• Clayton Kershaw (5) and Yasiel Puig (11) are among the top 20 best-selling jerseys in MLB.
• The Dodgers will partner with Radio Korea, the team’s Korean radio broadcast partner, to provide the SAP (secondary audio programming) in Korean starting today. Radio Korea broadcasters Richard Choi and Chong Ho Yim will call the games.
• Walter O’Malley is featured prominently in a new baseball exhibit at the Nixon Library.
• Tim McClelland isn’t umpiring this year. Is his career over?
• Happy birthday to Wally Moon (83) and Tim Crews (53).
• I heard this song on the radio in Australia last week. Strong endorsement for Australian radio stations: