We had our first look on television of the 2013 Dodgers. Well somewhat. I mean, it’s spring training, and it’s only the third game. So far we’ve seen a lot of the B-players, and Don Mattingly filled out the lineup with all B-players, as the Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs at CamelBack Ranch.
But could the Dodgers B-team beat an entire Cubs roster of B-guys? It was balks, balls, and B-players galore in today’s Cactus league tussle. The Dodgers were originally down by four runs after five frames, with the score 6-2. However the Dodger scrubs would battle back, first to tie, then to take the lead. The Dodgers would eventually hold on to win 7-6, picking up their first win of the spring. The Dodger comeback would see the Dodgers score three runs in the fifth inning without getting a hit. They used two walks, two balks, a hit batter, and a scoring grounder to plate three runs. Only in spring training can you see a game where the same pitcher serves up two balks in the same inning.
The lineup didn’t have one single regular in it. Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford are still about a week away from playing, and everyone else was given a rest. Instead we saw a lineup that featured Juan Uribe playing first base, and batting cleanup. Nick Punto as a DH, batting behind him, and also included other titans such as Skip Schumaker, Ramon Castro at Catcher, and Dallas Mcpherson.
Chad Bilingsley made a shaky start for the Dodgers, pitching two frames allowing two runs, off five hits, walking none, and whiffing one, Bills made 13 pitches, but looked better in the second inning. We are still a long way from knowing whether his elbow will hold up or not. The Dodgers used six pitchers to follow Bills. Chris Capuano, Shawn Tolleson, Matt Guerrier, Kevin Gregg, Paco Rodriguez, and rookie Blake Johnson all pitched at least a frame in the Dodger win. The Dodger pitching staff did not allow a run after the third frame. The Cubs used Carlos Villaneuva to start, and six more of their own pitchers to back him up, in a losing cause. The game also included a Dontrelle Willis sighting. D-train made it out to the mound for the Cubs in the bottom of the seventh, but would have to leave after pulling something, after making only seven pitches. I’m still not clear on what his injury was.
The Cubs scored twice in the first inning to take an early lead. Luis Valbuena had an RBI double, and former Giant Nate Schierholtz took Bills deep for a solo home run, and the Cubs led 2-0. The Dodgers would tie it up with two runs in the bottom of the first. Nick Punto plated two runs with a little seen-eye single that just eluded two Chicago infielders to roll into center field unscathed.
The Cubs would use three long balls to take a four run 6-lead in the top of the third. All four of those runs scored by Chicago were charged to Chris Capuano. The big blow was Darnell McDonald’s three run shot to left, which put the Cubs up 6-2. Only in spring training.
The game also featured our first real look at mega prospect Yasiel Puig, who looked very strong. Puig went 1 for 2 with a single, while playing a little center field. The Cubs also had their top international prospect Jorge Solar who was in right field. Cubs pitcher newbie pitcher Robert Whitenack, served up the two balks, and two walks, to cough up three runs in the fifth frame.
The Dodgers down 6-5, finally tied it up in the bottom of the seventh. Puig had singled a runner to third, and Jeremy Moore’s bloop RBI single scored the tying run for the Boys in Blue. And in the bottom of the eighth, Omar Luna’s RBI single put the Dodgers ahead for good with a score of 7-6. Blake Johnson pitched the top of the ninth to close out the game for the Dodgers. Somehow Paco picks up the win despite wiggling out of a jam, and poor Dontrelle Willis receives the loss, although I’m not sure why, he only made seven pitches. Blake Johnson who pitched the ninth, picks up the meaningless spring training save.
But hey, it’s a win! And a win is a win is a win. Plus it’s a lot of fun. The best part of the game of course, was listening to Vin Scully’s beautiful voice for the first time in 2013. Whatever else happened in the game was just gravy. We’ve missed you Vin.
And we’ve missed you guys too! I enjoyed talking to everyone on twitter. We’re gearing up for another exciting season of Dodger Baseball! The next Televised game is not until Thursday against the Angels. It’s a whole new year. Welcome back everyone. Tomorrow afternoon the Dodgers will take on the hated Giants for the time this spring at Camelback. The game time is at 1:05 P.M.