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By Jon Weisman
There’s but one more game between now and Opening Day (starring Clayton Kershaw), as Dodger Stadium opens its doors in 2015 for the first time tonight for the final Freeway Series contest against the Angels.
Friday brought a bit of a desultory road finale to the exhibition season for the Dodgers, who reached base six times – three by Scott Van Slyke – in a 6-0 loss to the Angels.
Los Angeles loaded the bases in the first inning on a hit-by-pitch and two two-out walks against instant old friend Andrew Heaney of the Angels (one of those walks being to the player acquired in exchange, Howie Kendrick). But Heaney retired 14 of the next 15 batters, notwithstanding one reaching on an error, and left with 5 1/3 no-hit innings.
By that point, Brandon McCarthy had allowed a two-run homer to David Freese and Pedro Baez a grand slam to Albert Pujols, and whatever competitive edge the game might have had was gone.
“I still don’t feel completely as locked in as I’d like to be,” McCarthy told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com after his final exhibition start, “but I know it’s spring and it’s different.”
Added Don Mattingly to Anthony Witrado of ESPN.com:
“It’s been fine,” Mattingly said. “These guys are perfectionists. They are never quite totally happy.
“The ball is jumping out of his hand. For myself and (pitching coach) Rick (Honeycutt), after that third inning it’s like you’re walking out of camp, you’re healthy, you’re as ready as you’re going to be.
“I feel like he’s had a good camp. He’s been able to do all the things he’s wanted to do. He might not feel exactly the way he wants to feel, but I don’t know if anybody ever walks in to the season like that. It’s always a work in progress.”
Witrado added that the Dodgers have set their 25-man roster for Opening Day, barring injury. The announcement isn’t due until Sunday, but could come as soon as today.
In the meantime …
- Kendrick and Yasiel Puig were both back in action Friday, a night after their collision.
- All the details from the Dodgers’ press release for Opening Day can be found here.
- Clayton Kershaw has been a dad for more than two months now (only 214 more until Cali Ann’s an adult).”Babies change so much at this age that going on the road this season will be tough,” Kershaw told Meghan Zahneis of MLB.com. “My outlook on the game hasn’t changed, but you don’t have a bad day at home. You can’t bring a bad work day home.”
- What were the Dodgers’ most clutch plays of the 2014 season? Chad Moriyama answers the question at Dodgers Digest.
- George Plimpton’s unforgettable April Fool’s story of Sidd Finch has its roots in a 1960 Kenneth Koch poem, “Ko, or a Season on Earth,” that involved a Japanese phenom taking Dodger Spring Training by storm, according to Jordan Davis at Vice Sports. Here’s more on that poem, with an ending in which “the continent of Asia begins moving East, and the champion Dodgers are transferred there.”