GLENDALE, Ariz. — Josh Beckett had a bad day.
Joc Pederson had a long day.
Neither was alone.
Starting a rare night game against the Seattle Mariners, Beckett allowed five runs, including three home runs, in three innings of the Dodgers’ 8-5 loss before a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.
The right-hander equally blamed his fastball and, jokingly, the Mariners for sitting in on his pregame meeting with catcher Tim Federowicz.
“They figured it out pretty quick,” Beckett said. “I was struggling getting my fastball to the extension side into lefties, away to righties. I got hurt on it a couple times. The ball that Smoak hit, I tried to throw a sinker down and away. It cut back over the plate.
“I was focused on working on something but you still want the results. Everyone says ‘I just wanted to feel good’ but you don’t wanted to pitch bad either. I feel good and we’ll move on, keep working on it.”
If nothing else, Beckett has succeeded so far in answering whatever questions remained about his health. Two starts into the exhibition season, he’s done everything to convince the Dodgers that the surgery to alleviate his thoracic outlet syndrome last July was a success.
“Health-wise I feel good,” Beckett said. “That’s the biggest thing for me right now.”
That might not prevent Beckett from going on the disabled list to start the season. The Dodgers won’t need a fourth starter, let alone a fifth, until April 6 at the earliest. By then any player who starts the season on the 15-day disabled list (stints can retroactively begin March 19) will be eligible to return. I wrote extensively about this at the beginning of camp.
Because they’ll only need two starters in Sydney, the Dodgers might want to find a way to get Beckett on the DL when the season begins. It doesn’t sound like he’ll need it.
Beckett said he would like some more time to work on his fastball, however.
“I got hurt on the exact thing I came to work on,” he said. “We did it my last start as well. I wanted to work on changeups. I threw some good changeups. Today was trying to get fastballs in to lefties. I wasn’t getting them there my last start; obviously I didn’t get them there today.”
Pederson started and played four defensive innings in the Dodgers’ 5-5 tie with the Seattle Mariners earlier in the day, a game that began at 1 p.m. local time. Fatigue might have caught up to the 21-year-old by the third inning of the nightcap. Mattingly felt that Pederson should have caught Nick Franklin‘s fly ball between Pederson and shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
The ball fell for a double. The next batter, Smoak, hit a two-run home run off Beckett.
Pederson atoned by hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning against minor-league pitcher Andrew Carraway to right-center. He also clubbed a double to straight-away center field in the fourth inning against another right-hander, 31-year-old journeyman Logan Kensing.
That brought the Dodgers within 6-5, but they would get no closer. The Mariners tacked on two runs (one earned, one unearned) against Chris Withrow in the eighth inning.
Gordon went 2 for 4 with two stolen bases against Seattle. He scored the Dodgers’ first run on an RBI single by Scott Van Slyke and was thrown out at home plate trying to tag up on a fly ball to left field in the fifth inning.
In a game without instant replay available, the latter play was not without controversy.
“I kind of think you have to argue every play at home plate,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “To me (Mariners catcher Humberto Quintero) blocks the plate, he takes the path, he misses the tag too.”
Gordon’s batting average is .227 through 11 Cactus League games. That’s bad, though two of his five hits have gone for triples, while a .320 on-base percentage has allowed Gordon to steal seven bases in seven attempts.
“We want him to hit the ball on the ground,” Mattingly said. “If you hit the ball in the air in the big leagues, they’re going to catch it. So he needs to hit the ball on the ground, be able to use his speed, and be able to bunt the ball. He has to know who he is as a hitter. If he gets on he’s going to be dynamic.”
A couple more notes:
• Mattingly said that an MLB official will be in camp tomorrow to discuss the new replay rules. The Chicago White Sox have an instant replay chart in the first-base dugout. Mattingly said that he keeps a list of reviewable plays, too.
• Jose Dominguez threw two impressive innings, striking out three batters while allowing one hit and walking one.
• Paco Rodriguez threw a scoreless ninth inning.
• A 29-year-old man ran across the outfield with no apparent purpose late in the game. He did not get tackled by security guards; he was merely placed in handcuffs by police officers.