GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Josh Beckett posted a 2.93 earned-run average in his seven starts with the Dodgers last season.
“It seems like he’s even sharper now,” Manager Don Mattingly said after the Dodgers’ 6-2 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday at Goodyear Ballpark.
Beckett had another solid outing, limiting the Reds to a run and two hits over 4 1/3 innings. Beckett has a 0.96 earned-run average in three starts.
“I got some contact early,” Beckett said.
Beckett said his primary goal this spring is to build up his arm strength.
“You want to make sure you’re not killing your bullpen in April,” he said.
Ted Lilly, who pitched in relief, was charged with five runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Lilly’s line probably wouldn’t have been as ugly if not for what was either a defensive or an officiating error at the plate in the eighth inning.
With one out and the bases loaded, Donald Lutz hit a grounder to first baseman Scott Van Slyke, who threw the ball home. Catcher Matt Wallach was ruled to have not been stepping on the plate, which allowed a run to score. Van Slyke was charged with a throwing error.
Lilly struck out the next batter, Jack Hannahan.
But with two outs, Lilly served up a bases-clearing double to Devin Mesoraco.
Lilly was charged with only one earned run.
Lilly is recovering from an off-season shoulder operation. Though he acknowledged he might be a little behind other pitchers in his throwing program, he said he should be caught up by the start of the season.
Matt Kemp was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, dropping his spring average to .118. Kemp has struck out eight times in 17 at-bats, but Mattingly said he wasn’t concerned.
“Just needs at-bats,” he said.
Kemp also didn’t hit well last spring, when he struck out 26 times in 65 at-bats. But he had an outstanding April, batting .417 with 12 home runs and 25 runs batted in that month.
Adrian Gonzalez exited the game in the fourth inning because of a stomach bug.