Remember, Clayton Kershaw had a fairly miserable spring last season (9.20 ERA) and his year happened to turn out just fine. Of course, he did have a certain record of excellence to fall back on.
Brandon McCarthy primarily has an excellent second half of 2014 with the Yankees to fall back on, which you might surmise is not exactly the same thing. And then there is the matter of that four-year, $48-million contract he signed in the off-season that raised plenty of eyebrows.
Still, you cannot read much into McCarthy’s outing Wednesday, other than it was one really miserable exhibition start. It will long be forgotten if he gets out to a nice regular-season start.
For one spring afternoon, however, it was cover-the-eyes material, McCarthy giving up six runs on eight hits in his four innings of the Dodgers’ 7-5 loss to the Cubs at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix.
It was only his third start of the spring, so the Dodgers will write it off as just one of those off-days where he at least got his work in.
It was hardly an entirely poor day for the rest of the Dodgers who took the mound. Adam Liberatore and Mike Adams each threw a scoreless inning.
Then Sergio Santos struck out the first three batters he faced in the seventh and still managed to give up his first run of the spring. That happens when you strike out a batter on a wild pitch and then pick up the ball and throw it away for a two-base error. Santos then gave up a pair of base hits before striking out David Ross. Which left him with four strikeouts in the inning.
Dustin McGowan, who had struggled in his first three outings, pitched a scoreless eighth and right-hander Josh Ravin managed the same in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts.
Offensively, the Dodgers were led by Joc Pederson, who is showing every sign of someone winning the starting center-field job. Pederson had three more hits, including a three-run homer and a double, raising his spring batting average to .429. He has three doubles and two homers in the exhibition season.
Andre Ethier, the outfielder Pederson essentially has to beat out, had a double for his first extra-base hit of the spring. The veteran is hitting .200.
Howie Kendrich had two more hits and Jimmy Rollins his fourth double, the Dodgers’ new double-play combination continuing to perform well at the plate. Rollins is hitting .393 and Kendrick .400.
The Dodgers, however, had two more errors, giving them six in their last two games.