The Los Angeles Dodgers snapped their streak of ties but it was with a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs, marking their first defeat in five Cactus League games this year.
One night after Julio Urias fell short of the expected two innings of work, Jimmy Nelson did the same. The right-hander was in his first game for the Dodgers after missing last spring due to back trouble that eventually required-season ending surgery.
Nelson had some command issues and lost a seven-pitch at-bat against Nico Hoerner, who singled. Hoerner then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and later stole third base. Sheldon Neuse was late to cover the bag and couldn’t field Austin Barnes’ throw, which went into left field and allowed Hoerner to score.
Nelson ended the 19-pitch first inning with a strikeout. The short outing pressed Josiah Gray into duty in the second, and his appearance began with an error that put Austin Romine on second base with nobody out.
Gray struggled to locate his fastball to the arm side but still managed to retire the next three batters faced, including consecutive strikeouts to end the inning and keep the Dodgers’ deficit at 1-0.
Gray started the third inning, only to be greeted by a leadoff home run that was followed by a walk. Edwin Uceta inherited the baserunner and didn’t provide much relief. He immediately gave up back-to-back doubles, and two batters later a home run that put the Dodgers in a 6-0 deficit.
Uceta’s 21st pitch got Patrick Wisdom swinging and prompted the Dodgers to roll the inning over. Uceta nearly bounced back to retire the side in order in the fourth, but that was thwarted by Ian Happ’s solo home run with two outs.
While the game had already gotten away from them, the Dodgers received encouraging appearances from Blake Treinen, Victor Gonzalez and Ryan Pepiot. Treinen and Gonzalez both struck out a pair in a perfect inning each, and Pepiot flashed an electric fastball and sharp breaking ball in the seventh.
Kershaw set for 2021 debut
The Dodgers are back on the road Friday for an afternoon matchup with the Kansas City Royals, which Clayton Kershaw will start in his first Cactus League action of the year.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, participate in our shows and giveaways, and more!