April 4th, 2016. A day which shall live in infamy in San Diego.
That day, two days ago, the unsuspecting Padres showed up to Petco Park. They had no clue that they would witness a grisly crime. Before they would leave the stadium, the Padres would be the victims of a vicious attack on all things holy and good about baseball. Their game with Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers was likely never in their favor. But there's losing, and there's what happened to Padres in their very first game of the season.
When a batter steps in to wage war with Kershaw, he knows that he is likely going to lose. Opposing batters hit just .193 against him last year. His curveball is the wrath of Ares given corporeal form and shape. You will lose, you will look utterly inept as you do so, and you'll return home to find your best china smashed on the floor and your bed short-sheeted.
That doesn't begin to describe the depth of what Kershaw and the Dodgers did to the poor, defenseless Padres. Woe betide all ye who read beyond this point. Think of the children.
This little video shows Kershaw executing his victims, but it doesn't show him toying with them. For seven innings, the southpaw allowed just two baserunners, one on a hit and one on a walk. The Padres aren't exactly a good team anyway; their best hitter is probably Matt Kemp, who hasn't been himself in years. Alexei Ramirez, he of the 82 career wRC+, hit fifth. Andy Green managed to work both Melvin Upton Jr. and Cory Spangenberg into a lineup. Kershaw wasn't exactly staring down the Blue Jays.
That doesn't account for the 15 runs that the Dodgers scored.
Tyson Ross is normally a fine pitcher. He emerged as a top-of-the-rotation talent last year with a 3.51 DRA and a slider that just won't quit. He's an excellent candidate to serve as a mechanism for the Padres to acquire more prospect talent come the end of July. Naturally, the Dodgers torched him for eight runs over 5.1 innings. Ross' pitches were leaking out over the middle of the plate. That lead to some hard contact, which lead to some runs. A lot of runs, in fact. Eight of them.
Ryan Buchter and Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo were then thrown into the fire. Buchter allowed an inherited runner to score but largely cleaned up Ross' mess in two-thirds of an inning.
Perdomo had no experience above A-ball before Green called upon him to work the seventh inning. Fate would allow him to tally three outs. However, before that third out was recorded, the Dodgers visited unspeakable horrors upon him. They plated six runs on six hits and two walks. Vin Scully scoffed that the Padres "Could have gone to the beach!"
When all the damage was done, what remained was the biggest Opening Day shutout of all time, basically a stark depiction of the nature of this year's NL East. The Dodgers may not be the most imposing team in the division due to health concerns in their rotation (and the depth behind Kershaw), but their talent is unquestionable. Meanwhile, the Padres will spend their season atoning for the team-building sins committed by A.J. Preller two winters ago. Ross, James Shields, and Andrew Cashner are all likely candidates to be moved to other teams. Derek Norris may be traded. It will be a long year in San Diego. Just as it has been for many years.
Many a film or television show begins with a murder. A good killing sets the proper dreading tone for a thriller or a noir, a horror show or a shoot-em-up. The Padres' opener was something like a cross between Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and a sports version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was unrelentingly heinous and ghastly. Yet the killer did not act alone. Every member of the Dodger lineup, including Kershaw himself, had at least one hit. There are many future chances for the Padres to have their revenge. But it's hard to imagine that they'll ever truly pay them back in kind, at least at some point this year. And like all criminals, the Dodgers returned to the scene of the crime on Tuesday to beat the Padres 3-0.
That is the sign of a truly awful (if you're a Padres fan) crime. It goes unpunished.