If you’re nearly perfect, you’d think that would mean something in spring training. You know, like a job. But the exhibition season is littered with those with spotless ERAs and high batting averages sent back to the minors.
The Dodgers have plenty of roster openings in their uncertain bullpen and you’d have to think left-hander Paco Rodriguez has earned a spot. Anyway, you’d like to think so.
After another excellent outing in the Dodgers’ 8-4 loss to the Giants on Friday night at Camelback Ranch, Rodriguez has been about as perfect this spring as anyone would have reason to demand.
In his eight appearances, Rodriguez has not given up a run. In his 8 1/3 innings, he has surrendered only three hits and no walks while striking out 10. The only reason he’s not a slam dunk to make the team is because he can still be optioned. And that’s not a good enough reason, not the way he’s pitching.
He came into Friday’s game to replace Zack Greinke with two outs in the fourth inning and runners at second and third bases after the right-hander had given up two runs to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.
Rodriguez was matched against Giants left-handed hitting outfielder Nori Aoki. And then Rodriguez did exactly what he was supposed to do, striking Aoki out swinging on three pitches.
It did not, however, prove the best night for Greinke, who gave up the four runs (two earned) on five hits and a pair of walks. He struck out one.
The Giants also got to Yimi Garcia, another bullpen candidate who had not given up a run in his first seven appearances, when Andrew Susac hit a solo homer in the sixth.
Relievers Mike Adams and David Aardsma each gave the Dodgers a scoreless inning, but Taiwan’s Chin-hui Tsao -- who had started impressively this spring -- continued to go the wrong direction. He gave up three runs in the ninth on three hits and a walk.
Offensively, the Dodgers managed only five hits. They scored all their runs in the first inning, Adrian Gonzalez doubling in two.