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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What You Want, What You Don't: Dodgers 2, Cubs 1 (10 Innings)

The only time we're going to be at Camelback Ranch this spring, and the game was shockingly lightly attended. How lightly attended? Last year, we parked offsite, accidentally, and it turned out to be a great idea thanks to the poor design of the parking lot — which has only one way in and one way out. This year?

The overflow lot on Camelback and 107th wasn't even close to being used. As mentioned yesterday, the Dodgers' spring training attendance is down 43% from last year, and I would say that figure looked even a bit short in the fields today, even despite the opponent Chicago — the Cubs drawing well everywhere in Spring Training owing to the paucity of tickets at Hohokam.

One consequence of this is that I have no complaints this time about the parking lot situation, it being I elected to park elsewhere. Too, the modest crowds allowed for better shooting and a general ease within the seats that felt missing last year.

Both starters pitched creditably, and though Chad Billingsley lasted six, he labored in that inning, walking the bases loaded with two out until finally he got ex-Rockie Scott Baker to line out to center. Offensively, the Dodgers nibbled and bit at Ryan Dempster until finally breaking through in the fifth, when Rafael Furcal converted Eugenio Velez's leadoff single into a run. Sadly, Velez later ended up getting carted off the field with some sort of injury running out an infield single. Never a strong candidate to make the 25-man roster out of spring training, Dylan Hernandez says he's liable to start the season in AAA, and MLB.com reports it's a "severe ankle strain".

Baker crushed an offering from Ramon Troncoso to tie the game at 1-1, but the Dodgers eventually rallied in the tenth against Jeff Samardzija to win on a little bloop single from, of all people, Orlando Mercado, the third catcher to enter the game and the least likely to get a job on the major league roster this season. Spring is full of surprises.

MLB Recap

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