GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw finished with eight straight wins to close out last season. So far this spring, it appears the Cy Young winner picked up where he left off.
Kershaw cruised through four innings in his second spring outing to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 9-1 win Wednesday night over a Cincinnati Reds split-squad filled mostly with regulars. He now has seven scoreless innings in two spring starts.Kershaw gave up a solid single to minor leaguer Henry Rodriguez and a pair of walks in four innings. He struck out six."There are things that I still need work on," Kershaw said. "I'm still trying to find that rhythm. The last two innings were better than the first two. I had a better changeup than I had the other day. The last two innings, I figured some things out."A.J. Ellis and Adam Kennedy homered off Homer Bailey, who is competing with Aroldis Chapman for the fifth spot in the Reds' starting rotation.Bailey surrendered six runs on six hits and three walks."I feel all right," Bailey said. "The ball feels like it's coming out (of my hand) all right. I didn't execute a few pitches that I wanted to. That's why we're here and not in Cincinnati yet. My breaking ball wasn't that great. I left a few of them up. I just go to the bullpens and work on my breaking ball. It takes time to develop a feel for them."Joey Votto singled home a run off Jamey Wright for Cincinnati and Jay Bruce singled to extend his hitting streak to seven games."Jay is ahead of the class right now," Dusty Baker said.Reds hitters struck out 12 times. Baker would like to see his team cut down on them."We can't take too much from spring training results, but you want to play better," Baker said. "We're striking out at an alarming rate. We have to figure out a way for our pitchers to keep the ball in the ballpark."Trent Oeltjen tripled home two runs in the first inning for the Dodgers, but was thrown out at the plate. Rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco blocked the plate and dropped the ball, but still was able to retrieve it in time."It was nice that he blocked the plate, but he should have caught the ball in the first place," Baker said.Tony Gwynn Jr. had two hits for the Dodgers.
Kershaw will fly back to Los Angeles to accept the 2011 Sportsman of the Year Award, given to the male athlete that exemplifies sportsmanship by the Los Angeles Sports Council. "If it was the regular season, I couldn't do it," Kershaw said. "It won't interfere with my work. It's cool when you see some of the guys who have won it, like Kobe (Bryant). ... The Dodgers' travel roster included the sons of three former major leaguers. Gwynn Jr. is the son of Tony Gwynn, who starred for the San Diego Padres. Matt Wallach is the son of former Montreal third baseman Tim Wallach. Scott Van Slyke is the son of former Pittsburgh outfielder Andy Van Slyke.