And then all was right in the baseball universe, or at least in the part that orbits around the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw made his first appearance of the spring and looked not like the pitcher last seen being chased by the Cardinals in the playoffs, but very much like the pitcher who was the 2014 National League MVP and Cy Young winner.
That makes for an almost impossible encore, but for one spring game, he looked up for the challenge.
It was only two innings, but Kershaw seemed all business. He retired all six batters, striking out three and throwing in the mid-90s. It only took him 20 pitches, so afterward he threw another in the bullpen.
The Dodgers used Kershaw and more strong play from their young crop of players to drop the White Sox, 6-1, on Thursday at Camelback Ranch in their second exhibition game of the season.
For what it’s worth, in four appearances last spring, Kershaw had a 9.20 ERA.
The next five Dodgers pitchers took their cue from Kershaw. Brandon League and Chris Hatcher each threw a scoreless inning, and Joe Wieland threw two, Dan Coulombe and Ryan Butcher each added one more. The Dodgers lost the shutout when Jeremy Kehrt gave up a solo home run in the ninth.
The rotation now is set up for its regular-season order. After being skipped in their first spring starts, Zack Greinke (elbow injection) is scheduled to make his first start Wednesday and Hyun-Jin Ryu (back stiffness) Thursday. Brandon McCarthy is scheduled to start Sunday, Brett Anderson Monday and Kershaw again on Tuesday.
Otherwise, Thursday in Phoenix was another good day for the Dodgers prospects. Joc Pederson, who had two hits in Wednesday’s opener, opened Thursday’s game with a single and was doubled to third by Darwin Barney. Pederson scored on a Yasiel Puig groundout.
They added a second run in the sixth inning after prospect Corey Seager walked with one out. O’Koyea Dickson, who hit a solo homer on Wednesday, doubled off Daniel Webb to drive in Cory Seager.
Seager, the Dodgers’ No. 1-rated prospect, looks like a young player with a pretty good idea of what he wants to do at the plate. He’s had five plate appearances in the first two games and reached base four times (one hit, three walks).
After Seager's second walk in the eighth inning, Kyle Jensen hit a two-run homer off right-hander Michael Ynoa. Jensen, a 6-3, 215-pound first baseman, came to the Dodgers from the Marlins as part of the Dee Gordon trade. He hit 27 home runs last season at triple-A.
The Dodgers added two more in the ninth when another prospect, this time outfielder Scott Schebler, doubled in a pair of runs.
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