Sunday, March 11, 2012
Cactus League: Dodgers 5, Cubs 0
By Tony Jackson
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It might not look so good to the untrained eye, or in the box score, but by all accounts -- his own and his manager's -- Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier is having a solid spring. After two Cactus League appearances, the second of which was a rather crazy fourth inning of a 5-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs before 10,380 on Sunday at Camelback Ranch, Guerrier has faced nine batters and walked five of them.
This after Guerrier walked 3.4 batters per nine innings last season, his first with the Dodgers after signing a three-year, $12 million free-agent contract. It was his highest walks-per-nine figure in three years and the second highest of his career.
Not to worry.
"My stuff was pretty good,'' Guerrier said. "I just need to get it to where it's in the zone. I made some pitches, and I felt good.''
Upon entering the game, Guerrier walked the first three batters he faced, although he managed to pick Blake DeWitt off second before issuing the third one. He then struck out Wellington Castillo and got Anthony Rizzo to pop up, completing a scoreless inning.
"That is just part of being here right now,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the walks. "I think he is throwing quality pitches. Last year, he was up (in the zone) and side to side. Now, if you look at those walks, it was always right here'' -- Mattingly pointed at his right knee -- "and on those, we're going to get swings and we're going to get strikes. Those are all ground balls for me.''
Guerrier admits he was trying too hard at times last season to make a good impression on a new organization, a new coaching staff and new teammates.
"I'm much more comfortable now,'' he said. "I am 100 percent sure of everybody's name now. It's definitely good to have that first year out of the way.'' ...
Ted Lilly made his second Cactus League start, pitching three shutout innings and limiting the Cubs to one hit. Lilly, who was rocked in his first start on Tuesday, said this time he tried to approach it like a regular-season game in terms of intensity. The lone hit he surrendered, to Rizzo, was the only ball the Cubs hit out of the infield off Lilly. ...
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, who was scratched from a start on Saturday because of stiffness in his back, is scheduled to return to the lineup Monday against the Angels based on an evaluation by trainer Sue Falsone.
"Sue seems pretty confident,'' Mattingly said. "We will play it by ear.'' ...
The Dodgers (5-1-2) will send Aaron Harang to the mound against the Angels in Tempe.