SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers are navigating a tricky stretch, trying to keep the start of 2014 from looking like the start of 2013 -- punishing injuries, loss after loss. So far, they're managing just fine.
The team announced before the game that it would be without ace Clayton Kershaw for at least two to three weeks and probably more than a month, but the Dodgers won their third game in four tries, holding off the San Diego Padres 3-2 at Petco Park.
How it happened: Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu are crucial to the Dodgers with Kershaw out, and they've given encouraging early signs they can help keep the top of the rotation strong through his absence. Ryu has pitched 12 scoreless innings and Greinke made his season debut with five strong innings. A litany of relievers got through the final four grueling innings. Greinke gave up two runs and only two hits.
Hits: It's no secret how to pitch to Yasiel Puig. Teams try to hammer him high and inside with fastballs and then get him to reach for soft stuff away. But Puig made an important adjustment in the first inning. Ian Kennedy tried to get a letters-high fastball on the inner half past him and Puig pulled in his hands and launched the ball 410 feet to left field for a two-run home run.
Misses: Spring training can be deceptive. Andre Ethier was one of the steadier producers in Arizona, but it has been a different story since the real games began. Ethier has two hits in 15 at-bats, and he looked bad striking out in his first two plate appearances (against a pitcher he was batting .357 against). He did fly out deep to center in the seventh. With Matt Kemp probably back Friday, Ethier's days as a regular appear to be dwindling.
Stat of the game: 0 HBP. Neither Greinke nor Kennedy hit a batter with a pitch, which is more than can be said of the last time they faced each other. Kennedy hit Greinke and Puig with pitches and Greinke plunked Miguel Montero back in June 2013 when the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks brawled.