Themes in baseball can be fun, when the going is good. Not so much when things are headed the other way. This off-season the Dodgers added two new starters to their rotation, crossing fingers that their history of injury is behind them.
Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson arrived almost joined in nervous anticipation, and now for whatever significance you take from a couple of spring games by their first exhibition failures.
Anderson was battered for three runs on seven hits in less than two innings Thursday, the Dodgers still rallying behind Andre Ethier and Alex Guerrero to finish in a 7-7 tie with the Angels at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
This came a day after McCarthy gave up six runs on eight hits. Anderson's control was off throughout his 1 2/3 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out two.
After Albert Pujols crushed his first home run of the spring in the first inning, the Angels got to Anderson for two more runs in the second. The Dodgers then rallied for five runs in the bottom of the inning.
Ethier, looking like someone not ready to concede the battle for the final outfield spot to Joc Pederson, singled in one run and Guerrero added a three-run homer.
Guerrero has the Dodgers in a spot, his contract not allowing for him to be sent down to the minors this season without his permission. And Guerrero said early this spring that he has no intent of being sent down.
The Dodgers have been using him all over the field -- second, third, shortstop and outfield -- to be able to use him as a utility player if he forces their hand. But thus far, he looks like someone they would want on their 25-man roster, at least offensively. Guerrero is hitting .400 this spring, with two homers and six runs batted in.
Ethier later added an RBI double to go two for two on the day. Both hits came against left-hander Andrew Heaney, who was a Dodger for about an hour after a trade from the Florida Marlins before he was sent to the Angels for Howie Kendrick.
Most of the other Dodgers pitchers performed well. Yimi Garcia threw 1 1/3 perfect innings with two strikeouts. Joel Peralta pitched a scoreless fourth and Chin-hui Tsao did the same in the fifth.
At that point Tsao, who is not on the 40-man roster, had not surrendered a run his 5 1/3 spring innings and was looking as if he could become the surprise of spring. But he struggled some in his second inning, giving up a pair of runs on two hits and a walk in the sixth.
Chris Hatcher pitched a perfect seventh with two strikeouts, and Jharel Cotton threw a 1-2-3 eighth, but the Angels tied it with a pair of runs in the ninth.