Visions Of Opening Day: Gibbons Has No Depth Perception, Dodgers Testing Theirs

The Dodgers lost the opening game of the Freeway Series tonight, 5-4 to the Angels at Dodger Stadium, but the news today -- aside from the Chad Billingsley contract extension -- mostly revolved around the opening day roster. Well that, and a Jonathan Broxton blown save that likely will be cause for concern.

Broxton entered the game to start the ninth with a 4-3 lead and after getting Chris Pettit to fly out Broxton allowed a single to Mark Trumbo. Alexi Amarista followed with a potential game-ending double play ball right near the bag at second base, but Ivan DeJesus let the ball go through his legs. A single to the vacated hole at shortstop, a walk, and a sacrifice fly later, the Angels took the lead. Broxton's only swinging strike of the night was his final pitch to Brandon Wood. Per Gameday, Broxton threw 11 fastballs averaging 93.3 mph, with a high of 96 (once), and he hit 95 three times.

Ted Lilly had his final tuneup start of the spring tonight, but he was anything but sharp. He walked five Angels in his four innings of work, throwing 80 pitches. "I couldn't figure it out. I tried a couple different things mechanically, and just had a hard time getting the ball out of my hand and rotating the ball correctly," Lilly told KABC's Josh Suchon after his outing, "It was very frustrating." Lilly, who had the least amount of in-game work of the top four starters this spring, is slated to pitch Saturday against the Giants.

Can't See Gibbons On Opening Day Roster

Before the game, Jay Gibbons spoke with reporters about the vision problems he has battled this spring. "It’s been a battle, let’s put it that way. We ran out of time," Gibbons said. "The vision was great coming back, but no depth perception." Gibbons has another appointment on Tuesday with an eye doctor to get a new prescription, hoping to find the right combination of vision and depth perception that will allow him to hit.

Gibbons sounds more and more like somebody who is preparing to start the year on the disabled list, saying, "That’s the problem. Every contact takes a week to get adjusted to, so here we are again, setting it back." The once presumed left-handed half of the Dodgers left field platoon has just four singles in 38 at-bats this spring, with three walks, and is hitting .105/.167/.105. "These pitchers are pretty good. Once they figure out you can’t see any spin, they’re going to cut you up pretty quick," Gibbons said.

Manager Don Mattingly said before the game that it would be tough to count on Gibbons for opening day. Gibbons on the disabled list all but guarantees that Xavier Paul, who is out of options, will make the team, if Paul wasn't already penciled in on the opening 25-man roster already. Gibbons would make a fifth Dodger to open the season on the disabled list.

Opening Day Lineup Looks Set

Mattingly said before the game tonight that although rosters haven't been set, he will likely have Jamey Carroll at second base, batting eighth on opening day, with Gwynn in left field batting second. "Opening day for me is all this noise, and then after that it kind of drops down to a regular tone. I want to make sure the guys I have out there are ready for that," the manager said. That means that the lineup from tonight's game will likely be the opening day lineup as well:

Opening Day Lineup
SS Furcal
LF Gwynn
RF Ethier
CF Kemp
1B Loney
3B Uribe
C Barajas
2B Carroll

Notes

  • Lance Cormier has made the Dodgers opening day bullpen, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, confirming a tweet this morning by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. "They called me this morning and told me that I had made the team," Cormier told Gurnick.
  • It's nearly impossible to report with any accuracy while watching the game on television, but to my naked and untrained eye, Rafael Furcal appeared to be running very gingerly as he was rounding third base, scoring on a double by Andre Ethier. Furcal stayed in the game, playing six innings like most of the regulars, adding a single in his next at-bat, and there was no report of an injury, but with Furcal's injury history I tend to worry about such things.
  • Kenley Jansen faced six batters in the sixth inning, but he allowed three walks and a hit. He threw 32 pitches in his 2/3 of an inning, including a 12-pitch battle with Howie Kendrick that ended in a run-scoring base on balls.
  • David Cameron of FanGraphs thinks Billingsley left a lot of money on the table with his new contract.
  • Only in a broadcast with Vin Scully would you get this in-game quote: "If you play with your cat, are you playing with your cat, or is your cat playing with you?"
  • These same two teams head to Anaheim tomorrow to conclude their two-game set, with Hiroki Kuroda facing Scott Kazmir.

Box Score

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