These early games are supposed to be sloppy, but no one told that to the Dodgers and Angels. Epic? Nah. Outside of Hiroki Kuroda, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier the Dodgers had a bunch of third and fourth stringers playing today. But no matter who they were, it was surprisingly well-played. The Angels won 4-1. Random observations:
- The starters — Kuroda and Trevor Bell — actually looked like they were pitching rather than “workin’ on stuff,” which is what you hear so often this time of year. Kuroda allowed a run and a hit in his two innings. Bell gave up a lone run, but that was a function of Kemp’s hustle more than anyone really getting to him.
- There was a surprising amount of good defense too. Or maybe it just looked good after watching the Giants and Diamondbacks kicking it all over the yard yesterday. No errors in this one and no boneheaded plays that got scored hits that I can recall. The game ended on a diving catch in right that was a lot of fun.
- The running was fun. it was a split squad game for the Dodgers, with Don Mattingly and half the team playing up in Scottsdale. Davey Lopes came with the team here to Tempe, however, and he and acting manager Lorenzo Bundy had the Dodgers running a lot, stealing some bases and doing some hit and run. It wasn’t necessarily successful — the Dodgers lost after all — but it made for much better aesthetics than you usually see at these things. The Angels ran a lot too.
- It was nice seeing Mike Trout play even if he was 0 for 2.
- It was even nicer seeing Rubby De La Rosa pitch for the Dodgers. He gave up a home run to Mark Trumbo in his second inning of work but before that he had fairly electric-looking stuff. There was no radar gun on the scoreboard here, but he had to have been rocking the upper 90s. He probably starts the year at Double A, but bookmark the guy.
- Speaking of those two: in their one-on-one matchup in the third inning, De La Rosa looped a curveball at Trout’s head and made him bail. If it wasn’t for the fact that De La Rosa was green himself I’d say that it was an example of someone sending a message to the fresh meat.
- Cool thing: I got to meet longtime reader Loren, who was here with his family to catch the game. Multiple games, actually, as Loren’s wife sprung a surprise Cactus League trip on him. They flew in last night and will be here with their two boys for a few days. Both Loren and Mrs. Loren are nice folks. And she sprung for some choice seats. Feel free to copy-and-paste this paragraph and email it to your wife with the comment “hint hint.”
And while we’re on the subject off meeting readers, feel free to shoot me an email, a tweet or a comment if you’re going to be bopping around the Cactus League in the next week, because I’d love to meet you if you’re around. Tomorrow I’m going to be in Goodyear for some hot hot Reds-Indians action. On Monday it will be Brewers-Cubs at HoHoKam, on Tuesday it will (probably) be the Brewers-White Sox at Camelback and on Wednesday it will be the Indians-Athletics at Phoenix Municipal. I haven’t decided what Thursday will hold. I fly home Friday.
Now I’m off to find a food truck selling Sonoran hot dogs because I’m just not into the whole long life expectancy thing.