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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Figure Eight: Dodgers 6, Cubs 3

Yesterday was a split-squad day for the Dodgers, who I have followed almost not at all this year. In fact, this was the first and only game I planned on seeing them at, mainly due to the fact that I have a real loathing for their home park at Camelback. It's also because I don't expect them to do much in these twilight hours of the McCourt ownership fiasco. While I'm moderately optimistic about the new Magic/Kasten/Guggenheim partnership, I can't quite lick the feeling that the purchase price comes with hidden strings that may eventually tie down the team like Gulliver.

4A journeyman Fernando Nieve got the start, and amazingly — or not so amazingly, if you looked at the Cubs lineup for any length of time — he did pretty well through four innings, surrendering his only run in the fourth on a two out solo shot to Ian Stewart. Stewart had landed on the Cubs as part of the deal that sent don't-know-what-to-do-with-him quandary outfielder Tyler Colvin to Colorado. Colvin showed hope for eventual slugging in AA, but largely fizzled in three years of major league service. Stewart had injury problems in 2011 that precluded success, and so both ended up in a change-of-scenery trade.

Despite the split squad, if you squinted hard, you could sort of see today's lineup as a regular season game lineup for the Dodgers if Andre Ethier were injured (say) and the team needed to give Matt Kemp a day off. Dee Gordon got the leadoff duties, and against Cubs starter Ryan Dempster he did nothing at all. The big rap on Gordon is that he lacks the experience to handle major league pitching (especially given his rapid ascent through the minors). Yesterday did little to dispel that, though eventually he did knock Manny Corpas around for a triple with two on, a hit that eventually cost Corpas the loss. I'm not sure I qualify Corpas as a major leaguer at this point, but it was a nice piece of hitting and an even more exciting few moments of baserunning.

From the pleasant surprises department, we got Matt Angle, who reached three times on an infield hit, a single, and a walk. Angle was a waiver pick of the Dodgers earlier in the year; he's speedy as all get out, but lacks any kind of offensive value with the bat, lacking both strike zone judgment and power. Another 4A suspect, Luis Cruz, managed to pick up a couple hits, as did regular James Loney.

The pitching staff held up well against the Cubs' popgun offense, though that was admittedly expected; it wasn't much of a contest. When you are throwing in a Logan Bawcom in a game, there's a reason. The Cubs accordingly managed to scratch out a run in the ninth, with a leadoff triple by Marlon Byrd, but Steve Clevinger knocked him in at the cost of an out. That foreclosed on the Cubs chances for the game.

Dodgers recapMLB Box

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