Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 4/6/12

The Dodgers opened what some are calling a “new era” Thursday afternoon with a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. New-owner-to-be Magic Johnson was seen sitting next to owner-to-go Frank McCourt in what might be perceived as a passing of the torch and beginning of a fresh start for Dodgers fans.

The Dodgers Andre Ethier is called out while trying to score on a wild pitch in Thursday's season opener versus the Padres. Replays showed Ethier was safe.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers winning is quickly becoming old for Padres fans. The Padres have lost 15 of their last 20 games against the Dodgers dating back to the final match-up of the 2010 season.

Although this was an away game, the Dodgers had a home-opener of sorts. For the first time, the team invited fans to watch the game on the scoreboard at Dodger Stadium. I was one of what looked to be about 250 people enjoying a day at the ball park which included ½ price concessions and a chance to meet former Dodgers third baseman Ron Cey.  Here are some of stats and observations I had while munching on a Dodger Dog probably made from pink slime.

- Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw could run for mayor if he wanted to.  He was suffering from a stomach bug that caused him to throw up and suffer cramps. Both manager Don Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti tried to talk him out of playing. Kershaw refused and took to the mound in spite of almost keeling over during warm-ups.  He gutted out three scoreless innings giving up two hits, no runs, and striking out three before calling it quits. He even singled in his only at bat.

- Matt Kemp worried quite a few people when he struck out nine times in his final 21 spring training at bats. So much for worry-Kemp was two for five with a home run and three RBI Thursday.

- Relief pitcher Josh Lindblom made the team only because pitcher Ted Lilly is on the DL. He got the first call when Kershaw could no longer go. Lindblom retired all six batters he faced over two innings.

- In what my be indicative of how a weak offense may need lots of help this season, the Dodgers were able to take a 3-0 lead  without any runs being driven in by a  ”real” hit.  Their first three runs came via two bases loaded walks and a fielding error.  The two runs in the 8th inning were “legit.”  Second baseman Mark Ellis doubled and Kemp followed with his home run.

- Padres pitchers struck out 10 Dodgers with half of those coming against just two batters. Leadoff batter Dee Gordon struck out three times and Juan Uribe struck out twice. They were a combined 0 for 7.  I know, it is only one game but it isn’t like the Padres pitching staff is the second coming of the ’95 Braves either.

- Too bad this isn’t the NFL. With the bases loaded and Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier the runner at third, Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez uncorked a wild pitch.  Catcher Nick Hundley tracked it down and threw to Volquez covering the plate. Ethier was called out in a close play. Replays clearly showed Ethier touched home plate with his hand before being tagged in the chest by Volquez. I wonder if the future will see MLB adopting an NFL-like policy of reviewing scoring plays.

-  Volquez made his major league debut in 2005 under the name of Julio Reyes.  An immigration crackdown revealed his true name to be Edison Volquez.   No one knows why he added the “n” after the fact.

- Speaking of strange names, the Padres first baseman is named Yonder Alonso.

- Going to watch the game at the stadium is one of those things that was fun but not something I’d do again. The novelty of being able to stroll through the stadium freely and mix it up a bit with other fans is nice…for about three innings. Then the desire for the sofa kicks in.

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