For as much as the backend of the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation has been further thrown off course by Brett Anderson undergoing arthroscopic back surgery, the first three spots in the order appear set.
With the sequence in which pitchers threw bullpen sessions and live batting practice in the days leading up to Cactus League play, the Dodgers’ rotation aligned as such: Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, Anderson, Alex Wood.
That being said, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts cautioned not to view that as permanent. Anderson’s injury and Hyun-Jin Ryu not expected to possibly return until May seemingly guarantees Wood a spot in the rotation come Opening Day.
One day after Kershaw tossed two scoreless innings in his first outing of the spring, Kazmir took the hill Friday at Surprise Stadium to make his Dodgers debut against the Texas Rangers.
He gave up one run in each of his innings of work, a total of six hits, but also worked himself out of trouble. According to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider, Kazmir wasn’t pleased with his fastball command and delivery:
“It is about getting the (work) in, but being a competitor, you want to go out there and be successful,” Kazmir said. “First inning, it just felt like the fastball command wasn’t there. I was drifting a little bit — my delivery wasn’t as consistent as I’d like it to be. That’s just something to work on.”
Delino DeShields led off the bottom of the first inning with a double. Shin-Soo Choo followed with a base hit, giving the Rangers runners on the corners with no outs. Kazmir limited the damage by striking out Prince Fielder, then inducing Ian Desmond into an inning-ending double play after Adrian Beltre’s RBI single.
In the second, Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Michael McKenry each hit one-out singles, with McKenry’s extending the Rangers’ lead to 2-0. Kazmir again escaped trouble by getting a double play ball.
The southpaw said the success in preventing the Rangers from having big innings can be connected to getting pitches over:
“Those were actually (pitches) that I hit my spots, so that worked out,” Kazmir said. “I still felt if I made my pitch with my fastball, I’d be in good shape, but a lot of hits that I gave up were fastballs that I tried to throw in and would leak out over the plate.”
Next up for the Dodgers is another pitcher making his debut as Kenta Maeda faces the Arizona Diamondbacks, who counter with fellow offseason addition Shelby Miller. Zach Lee is scheduled to start in place of Anderson on Sunday when the Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants.