Braves 10, Dodgers 3

Kuroda made his Dodgers debut, getting through his allotted two innings on so few pitches (21) that he then had to go to the bullpen and throw some more. He faced the minimum allowing just a leadoff single to Kelly Johnson in the first inning that was erased on Yuniel Escobar’s first-pitch GIDP. But on a day when manager Joe Torre more or less admitted that Jason Schmidt won’t be ready for opening day, the only other serious candidate for the fifth starter’s spot, Esteban Loaiza, got roughed up in the third and fourth innings, something pitching coach Rick Honeycutt later blamed on the fact Loaiza is trying to implement a mechanical adjustment Honeycutt suggested to him and hasn’t gotten comfortable with it yet. Loaiza gave up three runs on four hits over two innings. Greg Miller then came on to pitch the fifth and seemed to have a recurrence of last year’s control problems, walking the first two batters and missing badly on some pitches. He then started throwing strikes and got knocked around. By the time Honeycutt came to get him, Miller had faced five batters, and all five had reached. All five would ultimately score, leaving Miller with the dreaded ERA of infinity for the spring. Both Torre and Honeycutt said after the game they aren’t concerned despite the fact that Miller had similar control issues last season in the minors. Andy LaRoche went 1 for 3 with a double, which he smoked up the right-center gap in the first inning, and had a solid day at third base, as well. Dodgers fall to 1-1 for the spring in what probably was their final appearance ever at the newly christened Champion Stadium (the name is new, the stadium isn’t.). And they played some great ’70s and ’80s rock music here all day long, a little Abba, a little Beegees, a little Fleetwood Mac and even a song by A-ha (extra points if you remember them). So all in all, it was an enjoyable afternoon at Happy Land.

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