The Dodgers' offense came alive against the $85 million man Jered Weaver on Monday in a 9-1 win over the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Dodgers touched up Weaver for three runs in the first inning and his day was done after five outs, just like Matt Garza of the Cubs the day before.
Juan Rivera continued his hot hitting with his third home run in as many games, though to hear him explain it is what makes baseball such a beautiful contrast sometimes.
"My swing is not 100% right now. I'm trying to get my timing back," Rivera said after coming out of the game. "I don't care about home runs. I try to make good contact, and look for my pitch."
Rivera began his spring hitless in nine at-bats, but now has four knocks in 16 at-bats, with three home runs and a double, and most of that has come while Rivera tinkers with his swing. "I'm trying to stay close, hit the ball to the right side," he said.
Speaking of tinkering, Aaron Harang started for the Dodgers on Monday and allowed one run in three innings. There might not be another pitcher on the staff more aware of his own mechanics than Harang, who said he pulled off on a slider to Chris Iannetta, who doubled to lead off the third inning and scored the Angels' only run of the game. Harang made adjustments during the game, and said he will continue to work on his slider during his bullpen session this week.
"I'm pretty conscious of mechanically what I'm doing. I have an idea when something goes wrong, I can figure out what it is based on what the ball is doing and how the ball is coming out of my hands," Harang said.
Harang was facing the regular lineup for the Angels, including one Albert Pujols, but that didn't matter much to Harang, especially this early in the spring.
"No matter what lineup they throw out there, I'm working on what I need to do to get ready for the long haul of the season. Especially early on, I'm trying to getting a feel for breaking balls. I threw a couple of good changeups today," Harang said. "It's more about just getting a feel for how the ball is feeling in my hand and what it's doing right now."
Justin Sellers, like Rivera, said he has been trying to hit line drives and go the other way this spring. And like Rivera, Sellers homered to left field today, a three-run shot. "Accidentally I ran into one," Sellers said after the game, and noted that after the home run Mattingly half-jokingly reminded him to go to right field his next time up.
Chris Withrow continued his solid spring with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk with one strikeout, before he was removed after reaching his pitch limit. "This guy may have the best stuff in our system," manager Don Mattingly said.
- Dee Gordon stole his fourth base of the spring without getting caught. It came in the first inning after he beat out a bunt single about 30 feet toward third base on the first pitch of the game.
Matt Kemp stole his first base of the spring.
- Andre Ethier doubled in the first inning, giving him one extra-base hit in each of the five games he has played this spring. Ethier has six hits in 11 at-bats so far, with three doubles, a triple and a home run.
- The Dodgers improved to 6-1-2 in Cactus League play, or in hockey terms they have earned a point in eight of nine games this spring.
The Dodgers return home to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday to host the Colorado Rockies. Chris Capuano will make his second Cactus League start for the Dodgers, facing Drew Pomeranz for Colorado.
Scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers after Capuano are Stephen Fife, Alberto Castillo, Ronald Belisario, and Matt Chico.
Home Runs: Juan Rivera (3), Justin Sellers (1)
WP - Aaron Harang (1-0): 3 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts
LP - Jered Weaver (0-1): 1 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts