GLENDALE -- Josh Beckett surrendered three home runs to put the Los Angeles Dodgers in a hole, Joc Pederson hit one of his own in the sixth inning to get it close, but the Los Angeles Dodgers eventually dropped the nighttime split-squad game to the Seattle Mariners by a score of 8 - 5.
Beckett said that he came in with a "game plan to throw heaters", particularly "to get fastballs in to lefties" because he had been "struggling getting my fastball to the extension side, in to lefties, away to righties." The right-hander said, "I just wasn't getting them there my last start and obviously I didn't get them there today either."
However instead of improvement, Beckett found that he was still struggling with the same issue. "I'm still throwing uphill a little bit," he said after his outing, "balls instead of just being up they were kind of leaking back to the middle of the plate. I had a couple fastballs to righties that were coming back to the middle of the plate and to lefties that were coming back kind of over the plate. That's what I wanted to work on today and it didn't go [well]."
Beckett is coming back from surgery to relieve the effects of thoracic outlet syndrome, so health is still a major issue for him. And tonight he said, "I feel good; that's the biggest thing for me right now, but I definitely have some things to work on."
At the plate Dee Gordon collected two hits in four trips to the plate. His two swipes of second base were his sixth and seventh stolen base of the spring, without being caught. After tonight, Gordon is 5-for-22 (.227) at the plate, but adding his three walks give him a .320 OBP this spring. Mattingly emphasized that he was pleased that Gordon was able "to keep the ball out of the air and hit the ball on the ground." Mattingly is still optimistic about the infielder's improvement at the plate, saying post-game, "He's going keep getting stronger and become a better and better hitter."
Spring training may be shorter this season, but there is still some time for improvement, for both pitchers and hitters.
- Beckett faced the minimum number of batters in the first inning despite allowing two hits. He picked Abraham Almonte off first following his leadoff single, then benefited from Kyle Seager being doubled off first after Scott Van Slyke caught a liner to right field.
- Jose Dominguez pitched two innings and struck out three, racking up strikeouts with both his fastball and breaking ball.
- Pederson also doubled off the centerfield wall in the fourth inning, which Mattingly argued might have cleared the fence to no avail. Replays showed the ball struck the wall and came back into play.
- The second home run by Jesus Montero was yielded by Chris Withrow, who allowed two runs, one hit, and one walk in his only inning of work. He did chalk up two strikeouts as well.
- Tonight's home plate umpire, Alex Ortiz, is a former Dodgers bat boy.
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound to face the Giants at Camelback Ranch on Sunday, while lefthander Edwin Escobar pitches for San Francisco.
Saturday night particulars
Home runs: Montero (1, 2), Romero (1), Smoak (1), Pederson (2)
WP - Blake Beavan, 3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
LP - Beckett, 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3 HR allowed
Sv - Danny Farquhar, 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K