Though the Los Angeles Dodgers are known for their strong pitching, the offense decided it would showcase its home-run power on Opening Day. The team celebrated its first game of 2019 by hitting a record eight home runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Joc Pederson
Joc Pederson circles the bases after hitting one of his two home runs on Opening Day. (Image: Los Angeles Times)

The eight home runs tied a franchise record for a single game. The other time it was achieved was on May 23, 2002. But in that game, four of the dingers were hit by Shawn Green.

This is the first time that six players on any one team hit a homer on Opening Day.

Cody Bellinger, who had one, said it was great way to begin the season.

“It’s probably not going to always be like that,” Bellinger said, “but it’s great to start off the season like that.”

In addition to Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Austin Barnes all hit their first home run of the season. Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez each had two in the 12-5 victory.

Erasing Pain of October

The Dodgers have made it to the World Series the last two years, but have come up short both times. This year the team is a 7/1 pick to win their first title since 1988. Hernandez said the team was tired of talking about the failures, and Thursday was a great way to put it behind them.

“I think last year we spent a lot of time — not only with you guys [in the media], but within the clubhouse — talking about what happened in October,” Hernandez said. “This year we didn’t really do much of that, if any at all. We were really focused from day one, and focused on this year, and taking care of the business that we have to take care of.”

Starting pitcher Rich Hill, who is currently on the 10-day disabled list because of a knee sprain, said the team might have been experiencing a “World Series” hangover from their seven-game loss to Houston in 2017.

“Having that defeat in 2017 and how we let that carry over into the 2018 spring training — that fed into the season, where we got off to that slow start,” Hill said before Opening Day. “This year, coming back — guys are a lot more pissed. Guys are pissed. Guys want to go out and win.”

Motivated for Fall Classic

The Dodgers are trying to become the first team since the 1923 New York Yankees to lose consecutive World Series then win the third year. The team has a strong lineup and excellent pitching staff.

That was shown on Opening Day. With ace Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list with Hill, and emerging star Walker Buehler not yet ready, manager Dave Roberts went with Hyun-Jin Ryu, the projected fourth starter. Ryu pitched six innings, allowing just one run.

The only real question mark on the offense is catcher, where Barnes moves from back up to starter. The team did acquire former Dodger Russell Martin to help with backstop duties.

Barnes struggled in 2018, but had a strong Spring Training, and in the season opener, went 3-4 including the home run.

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