Fun fact about Arizona: just because it seems a little chilly in the morning doesn’t mean that it won’t be blazingly HOT at the park, though you’ll hear no complaints from this pasty easterner. Camelback’s a pretty nice setup, since the practice fields and paths back to the main park take players directly through fans.
In fact, our timing couldn’t have been better – as we walked in, half the team trotted back to take BP mere inches in front us, including Manny, Kemp, Ethier, DeWitt, Blake, Hu, & Mattingly. If I had any idea how to include pictures in a post I’m writing on my phone, I would, because Manny and his dreads look even more ridiculous close up.
After watching Hiroki Kuroda and Josh Lindblom throw bullpen sessions – and let me tell you, Lindblom’s curve in person is killer – we went to the next field over to watch everyone’s favorite drill, pitchers fielding practice. All of the main starters and relievers were there, except for Ramon Troncoso – not sure why. For what would otherwise be a tedious drill on a hot day, the gang was audibly laughing and getting on one another, yelling for laps when a ball was booted.
After catching the end of BP, destroying some sausages, and chatting with some friendly Mariners fans, it was game time. I saw Dodger exec Josh Rawitch in the crowd more than once, and though I wanted to say hi, he seemed extremely busy so I concentrated on the delicious Shock Top brew.
As for the game itself… well, I’ve seen other writers saying that one of the Ortiz catastrophes will win the 5th spot, but I just can’t see how its not Charlie Haeger. Against what was more or less the regular Mariner lineup, Haeger was dominating in allowing just 2 hits over 5 scoreless innings, including striking out the side in the first. If possible, he was even more dominating than the line shows, as hitter after hitter looked completely foolish against him.
For the second time in a row, Ramon Ortiz pitched just one inning, seemingly making it clear that he’s headed for the pen. Carlos Monasterios didn’t make it through his inning of work, and Russ Ortiz gave up a homer in his turn. Make a case for Eric Stults if you like, but there is absolutely no valid reason why retreads like the Ortizes (or Josh Towers) should be kept at the expense of losing Haeger, who’s been a favorite of this blog for a while now.
In addition to the pitching, the Dodgers looked tight. Ethier crushed a homer to center, Casey Blake had an RBI double, and even though I hate to admit it, Jamey Carroll made a fine stab at SS to start a 6-4-3 DP with Chin-Lung Hu and Ronnie Belliard.
Still, today belongs to the knuckleball… as should the 5th spot in the rotation. On to Goodyear for Dodgers @ Reds tomorrow.