GLENDALE — The Dodgers didn’t have the luck of the Irish on Sunday afternoon, as their eight runs and 14 hits weren’t enough to leave St. Patrick’s Day with a win. A four-run eighth inning helped put the Brewers on top, and give them the 9-8 victory.
There was plenty of it for LA. Joc Pederson started things early by hitting his third home run of the spring. After a rough couple of weeks to begin camp, Pederson has turned things around at the plate. Over the course of his last seven games, Pederson is 6-for-19 with two homers, four doubles, and two walks.
No luck needed, just power. ☘️ pic.twitter.com/N6jy4lxUdr— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 17, 2019
The home runs didn’t stop there, as Chris Taylor connected for his first homer of the spring later in the first inning.
Turns out this is the pot of gold at the end of the . pic.twitter.com/3ceuwSIiGV— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 17, 2019
The Dodgers would tack on a run in the second thanks to an A.J. Pollock RBI double, and another run in the third thanks to an RBI single from Russell Martin, making it 6-1 LA.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Daniel Castro stepped up to the plate with the tying run on third and the game-winning run at first. He would ground into a force out and second, ending the game, and preventing the Dodgers from winning their fourth game in a row.
After cruising through 2 2⁄3 innings, Rich Hill allowed three consecutive singles in the third, allowing the Brewers to get a run on the board. He’d throw a 1-2-3 fourth, but would again struggle in the fifth. Once again, Hill retired the first two batters of the inning, needing one more out to complete his five-inning outing.
Four consecutive hits would plate two runs for the Brewers, and Hill’s day was finished. “I didn’t have my best stuff,” Hill said following the game. “I feel like I’ve had better stuff in bullpens.”
Though it wasn’t the outing he was hoping for, Hill is still having his best spring since 2015 when he was a member of the Nationals. “I feel like I’m way ahead of the curve, as far as Spring Trainings go,” he said. “It’s much better than Spring Trainings before. I feel like I’m in a good spot.”
In 2018, Hill’s spring training ERA was 7.30. In 2017, it was 6.19. In 2016, 11.25.
His ERA in 2019? Only 3.27 after Sunday’s four-run outing.
Hill attributes his success to throwing earlier than normal in the offseason. “I felt like that helped with the finger and coming into camp and competing right away.”
It wasn’t just Hill who struggled on the mound for LA. Caleb Ferguson allowed two runs in 2 1⁄3 innings of work. His ERA for the spring currently sits at 9.00. On the positive side, four of his seven outs came via the strikeout.
Jaime Schultz entered the eighth with a two-run lead, and struggled vastly to find his command. He allowed a single and three consecutive walks, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to only one run.
Schultz would get pulled after recording only one out, leaving the bases loaded for Parker Curry. After getting a fly out, LA was one out away from escaping the inning with the lead. Curry couldn’t finish the job, allowing a bases-clearing double to Keston Hiura, making the score 9-7 Brewers.
The Dodgers will travel to Surprise where they’ll take on the Texas Rangers. Ross Stripling (2.07 ERA, 7 K’s) will get the start for LA. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. PT, and can be seen on SportsNet LA.