Manager Matt Williams said Stephen Strasburg did not have to make any changes to his strategy after four hits and two runs allowed in the first inning.
“He got what he wanted in the first inning, couple of grounders that got through,” Williams said. “Just found holes. I don’t think there was any major adjustments after inning No. 1. He had good location the rest of the game, good breaking balls. But I don’t think it was any different than inning No. 1.”
Williams said Strasburg is up to 114 pitches a game and maybe more as the season moves along.
“He is our horse,” Williams said. “Dee (Gordon) laid down a perfect bunt and the subsequent batters forced us to go to the bullpen with Adrian (Gonzalez) coming up there. He is a guy that can go 120 (pitches). We don’t want to do that every time. But in a game like today, he has got the lead. We want to show confidence in him that we are willing to send him back out there and protect that lead. Pitched good.
“I think he is good, I think he is healthy,” Williams continued. “I think he feels good about where he is at right now. The last two times have been good, really good. There were some teams, the Marlins game, where they came out swinging early and he didn’t locate. That is going to be the case with anybody I think.
“If you are not throwing where you want to throw it regardless of how hard you throw it, it has to got to be in a good location. I think his location has been a lot better. He feels good about it now.”
Wilson Ramos provided a double, a walk and a sac fly that pushed across the go-ahead run in the fifth. Williams was impressed with how ready Ramos looked from the first inning on as he returned from a borken hand.
“He looked good,” Williams said. “First pitch he has seen since he came back was a double. He looked fine to me. He threw the ball real good to second, almost got Dee when he was stealing. Went first to third fine, no issues. That is a good sign.
“He has the ability to drive runs in. He understands. He is calm regardless of the situation. He understands the strike zone. He has been there and done that. It is nice to have him back.”
Williams said lefty Jerry Blevins did a nice job of keeping the Dodgers off the board when they attempted a rally in the eighth inning.
“He has been great for us, the situational type innings or batters that he does,” Williams said. “He can also go an inning-plus for you, too. He can get out of an inning and go out for the next one and finish that one, too. That is valuable depending on where you are at in an opposing lineup. He has been good.”
Adam LaRoche had a huge two-run single in the first, but then had trouble getting to third later in the inning, noticeably slowing on his sore quad. Williams said that is something LaRoche will have to deal with and play through as the season continues.
“You are doing a lot of things with your quads, too,” Williams said. “Every time that he gets ready for a pitch, he activates it. That is 150-ish times a game. It gets no rest. And then your mind takes over. You get a base hit or you are on first base and the ball is hit in gap and your brain says go. You don’t stop to think about it necessarily before it grabs you again.”