The Dodgers outlasted the Angels in a 6-5 win, with an always-classic walk-off walk, in a game that saw plenty of action in the late innings, and most importantly, a healthy and ready-to-go Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
The old man is back again. After seeing his plans of pitching in the World Baseball Classic derailed for bureaucratic reasons, Kershaw slowed his build-up a bit, and only Friday afternoon made his Cactus League debut, going up against a depleted Angels lineup, as Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are off playing for their countries.
The plan going in was for Kershaw to pitch four innings, but things didn’t get off to the best of starts for the three-time Cy Young winner, as Taylor Ward plummeted this 1-0 fastball that leaked out over the heart of the plate for a lead-off solo homer.
Taylor Ward - Los Angeles Angels (1)* pic.twitter.com/d4pejRf9HQ— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) March 10, 2023
Kershaw struck out Livan Soto with a high-heater on the next at-bat, but trouble ensued as the following three hitters all reached base with singles, putting the score at 2-0, but the Dodgers’ southpaw escaped further damage with a couple of long fly outs to Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell.
Overall it wasn’t the cleanest of games, as Kershaw surrender five hits, and two walks on three innings, but that’s nothing to be truly concerned about, as the future Hall of Famer gets ready for the season.
After the three innings, Kershaw continued his work, out in the ‘pen giving way to Andre Jackson, who was the other scheduled pitcher in the afternoon.
One of the interesting nuggets about his appearance was that the left-hander used the new PitchCom device that lets the pitchers call their pitches, well, used is a strong word, as Kershaw had it on him, but didn’t go to it at any point.
Kershaw also had the PitchCom device on him today (the one that let's pitchers call their own pitches) but didn't end up using it— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) March 10, 2023
"It sounds good in theory," he said. "But once you get in that rhythm, I never used it once."
James Outman continues to make his case for an opening day spot
Outman got the start today out in center-field, and went one for three, driving in a run, as the left-handed hitter now has a .389 batting average in spring.
Miguel Vargas continues to waste no time, racking up those swings after he got cleared to do so yesterday, as the Dodgers’ second baseman tallied another double, this time off Angels’ starter Reid Detmers.
One hitter who seems to have carried his struggles of last season into this spring is Chris Taylor, as the utility man went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, lowering his ST average to a buck forty-three.
Andre Jackson puts his hat in the ring as a potential fifth starter
By all accounts, including the update Dave Roberts gave out before this game, the race for that fifth starter role, with the injury to Tony Gonsolin, will be one between Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove, but Jackson is certainly a name to keep in mind, with previous big league experience, even if a brief one, and also has a member of the 40-man roster.
Jackson followed Kershaw with three scoreless frames, allowing a couple of hits, walking none, and striking out two.
Late-inning runs on both sides
Dave Roberts’ ballclub got out to an early 3-0 deficit, but managed to tie the game with a two-run single by Hunter Feduccia, and another RBI from James Outman.
During the eighth inning, Jorbit Vivas came up to bat with the bases loaded and drove in a couple of runs to give the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.
The Dodgers hold on the lead was short-lived as Justin Hagenman came in for the save, but blew the lead, allowing a triple to Luis Barrera, followed by a two-run bomb to Trey Cabbage.
Trey Cabbage Home Run ✅— Anaheim Sports (@AnaheimSports1) March 10, 2023
Trey Cabbage homers (1) on a fly ball to left center field. Luis Barrera scores. Thrown by Justin Hagenman.#Angels 5 - Dodgers 5 Top 9th
Credit: Ballys#Cabbage #Angels #GoHalos #LAAvsLAD pic.twitter.com/n96ytUY2XW
Hagenman’s ninth-inning efforts were only outdone by the Angels reliever, Kenyon Yovan, who quickly squandered the extra bit of life his team had gained, by walking three hitters including the winning run, in an at-bat that went to 3-0 with a pitch clock violation on his part.