A Cactus League season like no other officially started for the Dodgers in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Wednesday, offering both some of the expected and unexpected.
Mostly the 4-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks looked a lot like the first spring-training game of the year.
Clayton Kershaw started, and shockingly, was not sharp. Carl Crawford struggled defensively. And the Dodgers bullpen, expected to be a strength this year, was mostly superb, though none of the four relievers used are actually expected to be on the club when it opens the season March 22 in Australia.
Kershaw pitched two innings, giving up three runs, five hits and a walk, and striking out two. He threw 42 pitches, 26 for strikes.
His cause wasn’t helped by Crawford, who struggled judging two balls, actually breaking in on a drive before retreating as it went over his head (and off his glove) for a run-scoring triple by A.J. Pollock.
After Arizona had taken a 3-0 lead, the Dodgers bullpen held the Diamondbacks scoreless over the next five innings.
Javy Guerra, the former closer who is out of options and is trade material, gave up one hit and struck out one.
Seth Rosin, a Rule 5 draft pick up, followed and made an outstanding first impression. He went two innings, striking out five, including four consecutive.
Jose Dominguez, who was throwing 100 mph until sidelined last season because of a quad strain, pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two batters. And highly regarded prospect Ross Stripling threw a scoreless seventh before giving up a run in the eighth.
The Dodgers scored in the third when Crawford singled and came around on a Yasiel Puig double.