Dodgers use late rally to win season opener in Korea, 5-2

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters via USA TODAY Sports
8th inning blunder by Padres opens the door for an offensive outburst for the Dodgers in comeback win.

SEOUL — Can you smell the fresh cut grass? Can you hear the crack of the bat? Do you feel the warmer weather on your skin? Dodger baseball is back, and although the game on Wednesday was played indoors, it marked the start of the 2024 regular season. 

Tyler Glasnow looked shaky with command but overall had a good outing in his first regular season appearance with the Dodgers, and Shohei Ohtani picked up his first official hit with the club as well. Ohtani went 2-5 with two singles and an RBI with a stolen base and contributed to the late rally that put the Dodgers on top for good. The bullpen was elite after Glasnow’s start and Evan Phillips pitched a clean 9th to steal a win against their rival San Diego Padres, in Seoul, South Korea. 

The Dodgers are now 1-0.

Here are my three takeaways:

If you watched the first seven innings of this one in the early hours of the morning, you probably had flashbacks to the 2023 NLDS. The Dodgers could not get runners in from scoring position, and left plenty on base against the Padres, which was the main issue that kept them from advancing in the playoffs the past two years. 

In the 8th, the Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out, and Kiké Hernandez was the first to attack, hitting a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Then came one of the wackiest plays you will see on a baseball field. Gavin Lux chopped a ball to the right of Jake Cronenworth and it went through the lacing of his glove into right field, allowing the go-ahead run to score. 

Usually you see those types of occurrences in practice or on routine outs in meaningless moments, so a lucky break for the Dodgers, and a horrible misfortune for the Padres. Mookie Betts then muscled an RBI single through the 5-6 hole and Shohei Ohtani finished the rally with an opposite field base hit to put the Dodgers up 5-2.  

The hype surrounding Tyler Glasnow has been real throughout Spring Training, but Wednesday’s outing was the first real test. In five innings, he gave up only two earned runs but walked four, showing some issue with command. 

Glasnow did mention that it was a bit of a grind to get warmed up and adjust to the Korean facilities, but if this is the kind of performance they’re going to get out of him, the Dodgers are in good hands. 

We all know about his electric fastball and wipeout breaking pitches, but the issue that I have always had with Glasnow has been his command. I am sure the “Dodgers Pitching Lab” can work with him and fix those issues, as they have done with many arms in the past, so no worries from my end. 

One of the more underrated signings of the offseason was the re-signing of Ryan Brasier. He posted a sub-1 ERA in his time with the Dodgers last year and picked up right where he left off, striking out one in his only inning of work. 

After Glasnow, it was pure dominance from a bullpen that was top five in bullpen ERA in the second half of the season and lights out in the playoffs. Daniel Hudson made his return, Joe Kelly threw a scoreless inning, and Evan Phillips ended the game in a clean ninth inning. 

There is a ton of talk about the stars, but this bullpen is seriously good, and could be even better than last year. 

The Dodgers now end the MLB World Tour on Thursday in Seoul. Yoshinobu Yamamoto takes the mound against Joe Musgrove of the Padres. First pitch is set for a bright and early 3:05 AM PST.