No doubt, Colorado must be one of the most unideal venues to open a season for a visiting club, particularly from the sense that anything possible can happen at any given point in time, often being reflected in a game’s outcome.
Undeniably, the Dodgers were fortunate in snagging three wins under these circumstances. Aside from the first game that was sloppy—and most crazy—on multiple levels, Los Angeles came together with timely pitching (mostly), clutch hitting, and relatively decent defense when it counted.
Indeed, there are dozens of points one can make when putting together a series analysis, but here are four that stick out and might be worth watching as the season progresses.
Corey Seager Is on a Tear
Corey Seager just won’t stop hitting. Even though he was given a “scheduled day off” in the finale, Seager is already among baseball’s base-hit leaders. In his three games against Colorado, he went a whopping 8-for-12 with two doubles, four walks, and four runs scored, tallying to a .667/.750/.833 slash line.
Seager’s current offensive streak, stretching back to last year’s playoffs, has been nothing short of remarkable. He slugged five homers, two doubles, and 11 RBI in the 2020 NLCS, securing the series MVP. He also stole MVP honors in the World Series after going 8-for-20 with another two long balls. His 2021 Cactus League stats weren’t too shabby, either.
Moving Julio Urias to the Starting Rotation Was the Right Call
Admittedly, I was one of those people who thought that Julio Urias should have been considered for relief duties at the beginning of 2021, especially after witnessing how well he pitched out of the bullpen during last year’s playoff run.
However, after seeing how well he threw in his season debut in Colorado, all indications are that his move back to the rotation was absolutely the right call. Over an even seven innings on Sunday, Urias allowed just one earned run on three hits and a walk while striking on six batters. Those seven full innings came on an efficient 79 pitches. Of course, the season is long, but a pitcher cannot ask for a better start, particularly after throwing at Coors Field.
Jimmy Nelson Not Throwing So Well
One of the things we’ve been talking about periodically is how the Dodgers will create roster space for either Joe Kelly or Brusdar Graterol whenever they’re ready to return to the roster. One of those who could suffer consequences is swing man Jimmy Nelson.
Nelson made two relief appearances at Coors Field this weekend, allowing three earned runs on two hits and four walks over 1-2/3 innings. Yes, it is Denver, but from a command standpoint, the 31-year-old righty does not look good in the least. One thing that might be in Nelson’s favor is that he does not have any options on his contract, making a prospective demotion a last resort for the team. Still, that won’t protect him if he continues to perform at such a poor level.
How Austin Barnes and Will Smith Might Split Playing Time
Of course, we’ve known for quite some time that both Austin Barnes and Will Smith bring entirely different talents to the ballpark. Smith is obviously known for his bat, while Barnes is infamous for his pitch framing and ability to call a game. Moreover, both Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler prefer to throw to Barnes, which seemingly might create a 60/40 split as far as playing time goes down the road.
It will certainly be interesting to see how skipper Dave Roberts decides to divvy up the playing time as the season progresses, especially if the team finds itself amidst a mid-season offensive drought or two.