The Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a third loss to the Cleveland Indians in as many Spring Training meetings this year, but there were still reasons for optimism at Camelback Ranch.
Namely, Walker Buehler taking the mound for his 2019 Cactus League debut. After being ‘slow-played’ from the start of camp in some part because of last season’s workload, the right-hander steadily built up to his first start.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts targeted three innings or 45 pitches for Buehler, which he essentially reached. Buehler was one strike from completing three shutout innings but gave up a base hit on his 46th and final pitch of the night.
Yimi Garcia entered and promptly allowed consecutive singles that gave the Indians a 1-0 lead. That was erased in the bottom of the fourth, when A.J. Pollock and Russell Martin each clubbed their second home run of Spring Training.
🎶 Is it too late now to say sorry? 🎶 pic.twitter.com/w4WmztaRaE
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 20, 2019
While Pollock has spent plenty of time in Cactus League play batting leadoff, neither of his home runs have come from that spot in the Dodgers lineup. Pollock’s first was when he hit cleanup against the Kansas City Royals, and Tuesday’s was as the No. 3 hitter.
For Martin, both of his home runs have come since missing a stretch of games because of lower back discomfort. He attributed the issue to overworking his swing in the batting cages. The Dodgers and Martin are each counting on a bounce-back season to help offset the loss of Yasmani Grandal’s production.