First there was fanfare and excitement, as the Major League Baseball season officially started with its first ever Opening Series in Australia. There was the fascination with the Sydney Cricket Ground and the buzz about baseball having its first games played under such unique circumstances.
Once the game started, though, things looked more familiar. There was Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers and a workman like victory as his team defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1.
Kershaw and Wade Miley both pitched well in a game that did not contain much offense. Miley only allowed three runs over the course of five innings, with most of the damage coming on two mighty swings from reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke (2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI).
That was all Kershaw needed; the only run he allowed was on an RBI groundout from Mark Trumbo after a double from MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. All told the Cy Young award winner went 6 2/3 innings and struck out seven.
Between now and their first game back in the United States, the Dodgers will have plenty of questions to answer when it comes to their lineup. Just consider the fact that Van Slyke and Justin Turner were both in the starting nine for their first real game of the season. Those issues did not concern the team on this night, however, as they simply got to sit back and watch their ace work.
Just for fun, here is the first pitch of 2014:
Game two of the Opening Series in Sydney, Australia takes place Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. EST.
WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 1.35 ERA)
LP: Wade Miley (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
SV: Kenley Jansen (1)