Ohtani shines in home debut as Dodgers overpower Cardinals 7-1

Photo of Ohtani shining in home debut as Dodgers overpower Cardinals 7-1.

In Los Angeles, Shohei Ohtani connected with a line drive to right field and sped past second base, intending to achieve a triple and excite his new fans in his first appearance at home plate for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, the highly valued $700 million player was unaware that Mookie Betts had been stopped ahead of him at third base until it was too late, resulting in him being caught out on the basepaths. Manager Dave Roberts chuckled, noting, “He’s incredibly fast, but he needs to be mindful that there’s someone ahead of him on the basepath.”

Additionally, there’s considerable talent supporting Ohtani, with Betts, Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman at the forefront of their lineup. This trio, comprising former MVPs, provided a glimpse of the potential of the well-equipped Dodgers as they aim to make an impact throughout the season.

Ohtani reached base three times, while Betts and Freeman each delivered home runs in the third inning as Los Angeles cruised to a 7-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Thursday’s Dodger Stadium opener, establishing a strong start for a season filled with high expectations.

Tyler Glasnow showcased an impressive six-inning performance on the mound, allowing only two hits for the Dodgers in front of a fervent capacity crowd of 52,667, eagerly anticipating a season of dominance from a roster primed for success.

Following a week that saw the team kick off the season with two games in South Korea, they demonstrated their formidable talent, led by three standout sluggers who collectively tallied five hits, six runs, and four RBIs.

Manager Roberts reflected on his trio of star players, describing them as “daunting.” Among the offseason acquisitions, none garnered as much attention as Ohtani, who remained focused despite a turbulent week that included denying allegations of sports betting following the dismissal of his longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara.

Greeted with a standing ovation, Ohtani excelled with a double, a walk, and a single in his initial three plate appearances. Additionally, Freeman contributed two hits and three RBIs, while Betts scored three runs and reached base three times.

“I was the lone player who didn’t manage to hit a home run, but overall, I feel like I had a pretty solid performance today,” Ohtani conveyed with the assistance of his new interpreter, Will Ireton. During his Dodgers home debut, Teoscar Hernández doubled and scored in the sixth inning, while Max Muncy contributed two runs batted in.

In his hometown team’s inaugural home game, Glasnow (1-0) showcased his impressive pitching skills, tallying five strikeouts and conceding only one run over 81 pitches. After starting in the Dodgers’ season opener in Seoul last week, Glasnow is poised to become a key figure for Los Angeles, particularly with the team’s rotation facing challenges due to injuries and off-field issues last season.

“It’s a great feeling to be a starting pitcher supported by a lineup like ours,” Glasnow remarked. Ryan Yarbrough provided three innings of one-hit relief for his first save. Paul Goldschmidt hit a home run against Glasnow, while Miles Mikolas (0-1) allowed seven hits and five runs for the Cardinals, who managed just three hits on their opening day.

According to MLB, the Dodgers boast the oldest roster in the majors, with an average age of 31 years. Moreover, the team is exceptionally talented following a significant offseason during which Los Angeles invested nearly $1.4 billion on five players, adding a plethora of new stars to an already talent-laden roster.

Despite Ohtani’s signing capturing the most attention, the Dodgers made additional significant acquisitions, including two highly esteemed starting pitchers in Glasnow (contracted for five years at $136.5 million) and Japanese standout Yoshinobu Yamamoto (signed for 12 years at $325 million).

They also added power hitter Hernández (signed for one year at $23.5 million) and awarded another substantial contract to their homegrown catcher, Will Smith (signed for 10 years at $140 million).

The pregame festivities for the Dodgers’ home opener mirrored the team’s star-studded lineup and the glitz of Hollywood. Players paraded down a blue carpet in center field amidst a display of fireworks, while actor Bryan Cranston energetically announced the team’s starting lineup. Josh Groban, another Los Angeles native and lifelong Dodgers enthusiast, delivered a rendition of the national anthem.

The Dodgers’ trio of MVPs then collectively achieved a 5-for-6 performance with two walks, a double, and two home runs against Mikolas. Mikolas had previously criticized the Dodgers, accusing them of indulging in “checkbook baseball” and expressing a desire to “stick it to the Dodgers” in the opening series.

As Los Angeles replaced Mikolas after Ohtani’s single in the fifth inning, it became apparent that Mikolas had failed to deliver on the expectations set by his pitching performance.

St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol remarked, “Mikolas has areas to improve, especially against a strong lineup like the Dodgers’. It’s a tough challenge. Our offense will come together eventually. Unfortunately, today wasn’t our day. The Dodgers’ pitchers are top-notch.”

In his debut for St. Louis in the major leagues, Victor Scott II went hitless in three at-bats but did manage to steal a base while playing center field and batting eighth.

Injury Report Cardinals:

Several key players, including prized free-agent addition Sonny Gray, newly acquired reliever Keynan Middleton, and outfielders Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar, and Dylan Carlson, have landed on the injured list at the season’s outset.

Dodgers: As per Roberts, relief pitchers Blake Treinen (suffering from a bruised lung) and Brusdar Graterol (dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder) are still some time away from making a return to action, although both participated in catch practice this week.

Upcoming Matchups:

Left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson is slated to make his 11th career start for the Cardinals on Friday. Meanwhile, Bobby Miller will take the mound for the Dodgers, marking his return following a promising rookie campaign.


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