In their most lopsided result of the spring, the Dodgers crushed a Rangers lineup that featured all but one of their projected opening-day starters. [box score]
Clayton Kershaw, making his first Cactus League start, allowed three hits and a walk in three innings against his hometown team. He induced consecutive comebackers to Josh Hamilton (on a grounder) and Adrian Beltre (line drive) to end the first inning. Kershaw also picked off Nelson Cruz at first base; of his 42 pitches, 28 were strikes.
“This is as normal as it gets,” Kershaw said. “I threw everything –some sliders, curveballs; my changeup was terrible.”
In what the Dodgers hope is a normal occurrence, Matt Kemp went 2-for-2 with a home run, Juan Rivera batted cleanup and belted his first home run of the spring, and Andre Ethier went 2-for-2 with a triple. Prospect Alex Castellanos hit his second home run of the spring, his second in as many days.
The Dodgers are 3-1-1 after starting 2-6 last season, but manager Don Mattingly isn’t placing value on results yet — even a lopsided victory. “I’d much rather see us swing the bats,” he said, “but I also know we’ll hit a stretch where we don’t score.”
A few more notes:
The Dodgers came within a couple innings of a shutout against the A’s at Camelback Ranch, getting two scoreless innings from Chris Capuano in his first Cactus League start Thursday. [box score]
Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal, Todd Coffey and John Grabow all threw scoreless relief innings in their spring debuts. Stephen Fife allowed a run in the seventh inning and Wilfredo Ledezma allowed the A’s other run in the ninth.
Adam Kennedy started at DH and went 2-for-2. Andre Ethier finished 1-for-2 with a two-RBI double in the fourth inning, raising his spring batting average to .500. Matt Kemp went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and two strikeouts. His spring average sits at .143.
Alex Castellanos, who was acquired in the Rafael Furcal trade last
season, blasted the game’s only home run off A’s reliever Travis Schilchting in the
Dee Gordon stole his first base of the spring, swiping second base after drawing a walk to lead off the game.
A few more notes:
Ted Lilly allowed five runs in two innings in his spring debut, and the Dodgers could never catch up in an 8-4 loss to the Giants at Camelback Ranch, their first loss of the spring. [Box score]
Andre Ethier hit his first Cactus League home run, one of nine hits by nine different Dodgers.
Lilly allowed a home run to the first batter of the game, Melky Cabrera, who belted a 3-2 fastball out of the park to left field. The next batter, Emmanuel Burriss, doubled. Brett Pill followed that with another home run off a 2-2 fastball to left-center field.
The Giants increased their lead to 5-0 off a pair of runs in the second inning, thanks to a pair of doubles, a single and a wild pitch.
“It’s spring training but you’re still looking for results,” Lilly said. “I was going into the game with a plan of really just trying to execute fastballs, my fastball to both side of the plate. I didn’t intend to throw too many breaking balls, but when you’re not executing with location, for me, it puts me in a position where I have to throw more breaking balls. I threw more than I wanted to.”
Jamey Wright, Ramon Troncoso (on another Cabrera homer) and Matt Chico each allowed a run in their lone inning out of the bullpen. Josh Lindblom, Michael Antonini and Josh Wall did not.
A few more notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
If Andre Ethier’s knee passed its first in-game test Monday, when he legged out a double against the Chicago White Sox, it passed its second test Tuesday.
Ethier casually cranked a solo home run to right field –his first of the spring –against Giants starter Barry Zito in the second inning. His swing was smooth and his reaction was modest.
“I kind of surprised myself,” Ethier said. “I haven’t seen a ball hit like that in a while off my bat. It’s kind of nice to see.”
There is a difference between modesty and confidence, and Ethier said he had plenty before arriving in Arizona. I’ll throw the rest of his comments about his newfound approach in tomorrow’s notebook; that approach includes a lack of urgency to begin discussing a contract extension.
Ethier was hitting fifth today against the Giants after hitting cleanup the day before because Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wanted to move righty batter Juan Rivera up a spot against the left-handed Zito. He flied out to center field in his only other at-bat, in the third inning against Giants right-hander Steve Edlefsen.
In case you hadn’t heard, Andre Ethier’s right knee caused a bit of a stir last season. There was this column in the Los Angeles Times that implied Ethier was playing injured against his body’s will, which must have rattled a few cages in the Dodgers’ front office; a couple weeks later the outfielder had season-ending surgery to remove “loose bodies” from the knee.
When spring began, Ethier made it clear he didn’t want to talk about the injury and his recovery, leaving fans and media folks to sift through whatever anecdotal evidence we could gather.
So … based on his first game of the Cactus League season, Ethier’s fine. The only “loose body” in sight belonged to Ethier, sprinting out of the batter’s box, successfully legging out a double to right field in the second inning of the Dodgers’ 6-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.
“That’s a challenge double,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “That guy can throw. (White Sox right fielder Alex) Rios has a good arm. That’s one of those bang-bangs. If you’re not decisive out of the box, you’re not going to make that.”
It was just one game, and the truest test of Ethier’s knee will be expressed in his power numbers over time. Ethier hit just one home run after July 26 last season, which was roundly attributed to an inability to firmly plant his front (right) foot.
But if you’re looking for a sign of progress, there it is.
Scott Van Slyke’s two-run home run highlighted a five-run sixth inning that lifted the Dodgers to a win in their exhibition opener. [MLB.com box score]
The Dodgers’ first home run of the spring cleared the left-field bullpen — a no-doubter — and completed a cycle for the team in the inning. Tony Gwynn Jr. (single), Justin Sellers (double), Ivan DeJesus (triple) all scored runs in the inning. Coincidentally, all of them, including Van Slyke, are the sons of former major league players.
Ten different Dodgers collected hits, and Chad Billingsley’s two scoreless innings will be the focus of tomorrow’s notebook. A couple other tidbits that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
The Dodgers beat the Giants 9-1 tonight in San Francisco. For a full recap and boxscore click here.
THE BARE ESSENTIALS:
Randy Wolf was dominant in eight innings of work, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk. He got his sixth win of the year and lowered his ERA to 3.43.
Manny Ramirez was truly a formidable force in the Dodger lineup, going 2-for-3 with a double, a homer, and 3 RBI, as well as two intentional walks. No. 3 hitter Andre Ethier went 3-for-5.
The runs for the Dodgers came in bunches — four in the fifth and five in the seventh. Ethier led off the scoring with a fifth-inning two-run double, and Matt Kemp capped it with a three-run homer in the seventh.
Juan Castro made the start for the injured Orlando Hudson. Hudson’s likely to miss tomorrow’s series capper but is listed as day-to-day.
Jeff Weaver was announced as the starter for tomorrow’s game, replacing ace Chad Billingsley, who’s out with a hamstring strain. Weaver has posted a 2-1 record and 3.47 ERA in five starts so far this season while working primarily out of the bullpen.
The Giants had only one hit after the fifth inning, a single by Pablo Sandoval in the ninth. James McDonald retired the side in the ninth on just seven pitches by then getting Juan Uribe to ground into a double play and Ryan Garko to foul out.
Jeff Weaver (5-4, 3.90) faces Tim Lincecum (12-3, 2.20) as the Dodgers try to sweep San Francisco.