Take that, Dodgers and all your money! You can’t buy Cactus League games!
- Kyle Hendricks had a solid start, and the stat line certainly looks fantastic: three scoreless innings, four strikeouts, one walk, one hit. Two of those strikeouts only barely count, though (one was Josh Beckett, who wasn’t taking his bat off of his shoulder; the other was a Dee Gordon attempted bunt hit with two strikes that went foul up the third baseline). Still, he had good movement on his pitches, and the Dodgers weren’t getting any good wood on him when the ball was in play. For a few innings, at least, it was easy to see why Hendricks gives up so few homers.
- Carlos Villanueva followed Hendricks (interesting that that’s the order in which they appeared, yes?) with three effective innings of his own. He gave up three hits and one earned run, but didn’t walk anyone and struck out two. Villanueva pretty much is what he is at this point, which is an effective swing-man, a solid 4th/5th starter in a pinch, and a decent reliever.
- Alberto Cabrera (out of options) is trying to make the pen against long-ish odds, and, although he gave up a solo homer, he otherwise struck out the side. Neil Ramirez threw a scoreless, one-hit 8th inning.
- Luis Valbuena’s two-run homer wound up being the difference in the game, but nobody could even focus on that because … he didn’t flip the bat! I guess Valbuena only flips the bat on singles and random fly outs. I can’t criticize that.
- Emilio Bonifacio had a beautiful swinging bunt thing where he slapped the ball, with a running start, toward the shortstop. He was safe rather easily, despite a quick, smooth play by the shortstop. But then Bonifacio was thrown out easily trying to steal second.
- Javier Baez got a late at bat and struck out. It happens.