The Los Angeles Dodgers began their 2017 Cactus League campaign with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Camelback Ranch in Glendale.
Resident ace Clayton Kershaw threw one inning of perfect ball while striking out one batter, and reliever Edward Paredes shut down the White Sox in the ninth to register the club’s first game of the season. Sandwiched between Kersh and Paredes were Alex Wood, Josh Ravin, Madison Younginer, Fabio Castillo and Patrick Schuster. Wood surrendered hits to the first two batters he faced, and later threw a wild pitch which allowed both runners to score.
Following the 12 pitches in his only inning of work, Kershaw went straight to the bullpen, where he tossed another 17 pitches. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has been developing a changeup over the winter, but only threw it one time on Saturday.
Offensively for the Dodgers, the biggest hit of the day was a solo home run off the bat of right fielder Brett Eibner in the bottom of the sixth inning off of Chicago southpaw Giovanni Soto. Catcher Yasmani Grandal belted a run-scoring double to the right-center field wall in the third inning, ending his day with two hits. Newcomer Logan Forsythe also added a double and scored a run, while Franklin Gutierrez and Scott Van Slyke, both batting in the DH spot, contributed with one RBI apiece. In addition, third baseman Justin Turner ripped a single in the third inning which drove in Forsythe.
As far as the batting order went for the Dodgers, skipper Dave Roberts elected to use Forsythe in the leadoff spot, followed by Corey Seager, Turner and Grandal. Gutierrez hit in the five-hole, and was followed by Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Andrew Toles. Utility man Rob Segedin began the afternoon at first base and rounded out the Dodgers’ lineup batting ninth.
One of the more surprising moves of the day was an appearance by Chris Taylor in center field at the beginning of the fourth inning. Taylor currently finds himself in a battle with Enrique Hernandez and Charlie Culberson for a utility spot on the team’s regular season 25-man roster.
“It gives us more options,” Roberts said of the move. “It just makes more sense for our roster if we can see him in center.”
Up next for the Dodgers is righty Wily Peralta and the Milwaukee Brewers tomorrow afternoon at Maryvale Baseball Park. Lefty veteran Rich Hill will start the game on the bump for Los Angeles. First pitch is slated for noon Pacific time.
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