Ohtani, Kershaw, and Masters Give DVR a Workout
April 9, 2018

It's a boast of the DVR companies and a luxury to have, but who really thought they really needed a machine to record up to four different channels at once. Okay, the definition of 'need' might be loose here, but it was certainly nice to have on Sunday. Especially with a Giants-Dodgers rivalry and Clayton Kershaw on the hill, Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani making his home pitching debut for the Angels, and the “tradition unlike any other—the Masters” all going on at the same time.

Staying up late the night before and binge watching Designated Survivor to make room on my Tivo, I set the recordings. You also have to prioritize. I'm watching all of the Giants-Dodgers game, but it's okay if I'm a half hour or so behind. I'm not missing an Ohtani pitch, but I can fast-forward through the Angels at-bats (slowing down for the Justin Upton at-bats, though, because he's on my fantasy team). I saw Tiger's finish at 18, the standing ovation, and all that stuff, but I only really needed to see the top two on the later holes, and update the leader board, so the golf coverage finished third on my priority list. That meant Jordan Speith's run at the top was a bit of a surprise, and so was wondering what the hell happened to Rory McIlroy.

I'll admit I've never heard of Patrick Reed before this weekend. I'm told he was big in Ryder Cup play, a trash talker, and not all that well liked. He needed to par the 18th hole for the coveted green jacket, and did it, sinking a putt that was not all that easy. That eighteenth hole was the only real time that baseball could wait. We'd watch to see if a green jacket goes with a hot pink shirt later. If you watch the event, you have to watch the celebration. That's what sports are all about, right?

Seeing if the Dodgers could get any runs for Kershaw was supposed to be the prime objective for this three-channel-palooza, but Ohtani took over. Not only had the guy with the Ichiro Suzuki-like swing hit home runs all week, now he's taking a perfect game into the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, and striking out everyone in the Oakland lineup. He lost his perfecto with a Marcus Semien shot to left field with one out in the seventh, then walked a batter, but finished the inning. His line—seven innings, no runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts. By the way, Ohtani was named American League Player of the Week.

We're getting behind on the Dodger game, so it was time to catch up. Yep, manager Dave Roberts, not learning his lesson from the day before when he had no bench players left and used 24 of his 25 guys in a 14-inning game, bats for Kershaw. You know the bullpen is going to give up a run, and they do, meaning Kershaw is winless (0-2) in his first three starts—the first time that's happened since 2012. Tied 1-1 in the tenth, Roberts goes to his final bench player, and Kyle Farmer doubles to give LA the lead. Kenley Jansen actually closes the game in the bottom half and the Dodgers win 2-1.

Interesting thought here. Three channels of exciting drama, but less is apparently more. The object of golf is to get the ball in the hole in the fewest number of shots possible, we're rooting for the Oakland A's to do nothing against Ohtani (well at least I was), and the Dodgers and Giants don't seem to score any runs anyway, but LA prevailed this time. If Ohtani ended up with a no-hitter or perfect game, I would have saved the recording, but deleting the three frees up room for Designated Survivor on Wednesday. I'm still three episodes behind.

Fun with numbers: You may have noticed 12 days into the baseball season, that there have been a lot of weather postponements, 1-0 games, and extra-inning games. We did some crunching and came up with the following... In 12 days, there have been 19 extra-innings games, 11 of which were 12 innings or longer. In terms of innings, the longest game this year was Miami beating the Cubs 2-1 in 17 innings on March 30. The Dodgers 8-7 loss in 15 innings at Arizona April 2 was the second longest. There have been only two days without an extra-inning game this year (March 31 and April 1)... The Dodgers losing two 1-0 games to open the season were the first of nine 1-0 games this year. Most of them have been in cold weather cities, with Detroit playing in three of them, and winning one... Of course, there was 1-0 extra-inning game, with Houston beating San Diego in 10 innings Saturday on a pop fly in front of the plate that wasn't caught... With today's snowout at Wrigley Field in Chicago (the White Sox were also home today and got their game in—I'm still scratching my head about that one), there have been 11 postponements, including the Dodgers-Giants rainout in San Francisco Saturday—the first time the Giants have been washed out at home since 2006. We have not gone two consecutive days without a postponement so far this year... And three times in 12 days, including Opening Day (and April 2 and 3), we've had an extra-inning game of 12 innings or longer, a 1-0 game, and a postponement all in the same day. Play ball!

More fun with numbers: Despite winning three out of five games against the Dodgers, and a somewhat respectable 4-5 record overall, the San Francisco Giants have scored more than one run in just three of their nine games this year. After scoring 1, 1, 0, and 0 at the Dodgers on Opening Weekend (winning 1-0 twice), they scored 4 in their home opener Tuesday vs. Seattle but lost 6-4, routed Felix Hernandez and the Mariners the next night 10-1, then opened the rain-shortened Dodger series at home with a 7-4 victory. They lost 2-1 in 10 innings Sunday and fell at home to Arizona tonight 2-1.

Beyond Thunderdome: Congratulations to Yuba City's Max Stassi. The Houston Astros catcher has been in the big leagues before, but this is the first time he's made an Opening Day roster. He had an RBI-double in his first start March 30, and had a three-run homer Sunday in a win against San Diego. That home run, the third of his career, makes Stassi the Gold Sox Major League leader. Brother Brock Stassi hit 2 with Philadelphia last year, and Tommy Everidge had 2 with Oakland in 2009.

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