Dodgers Edge Sox, Even Record at 2-2

This is not a pop quiz, so those of you who blanch when that phrase comes up can relax. Can you identify these stars of the game: Damasco Espino, Trayvon Robinson, Jamie Hoffmann and Nate Eovaldi? The Dodgers beat the White Sox 6-5 to even their record at 2-2.

Espino knocked in two runs with a pinch-hit single, Robinson and Hoffman added an RBI each and Eovaldi earned a save in his first appearance in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform.

Of course, Robinson and Hoffmann are well known to Dodgers minor league fans and most of them would also know the Eovaldi kid. But after his clutch work against the Sox, he is now known by more than a few now.

Eovaldi was the Dodgers #3 selection in 2008 draft and would have gone much higher except for a Tommy John operation he underwent as a junior in high school. An Alvin, Texas native, he was committed to Texas A & M but the Dodgers convinced him to sign with them instead.

He was treated carefully by the organization and was only used on a full-time basis in 2010. The caution paid off when he was chosen to represent the Inland Empire at the California-Carolina League All-Star Game.

He faced three White Sox hitters in the ninth inning, retiring the first batter on a ground ball on the first pitch and the next two on called third strikes, using just seven pitches overall.

The Patter of Little Feet
Those who wondered how Davey Lopes would effect the Dodgers need only look at the box scores over the first three days of the spring season. They have recoded seven stolen bases (Matt Kemp, Jamey Carroll, Rafael Furcal, Tony Gwynn, Ivan De Jesus, Jamie Hoffman and Eugenio Velez.

Roles Reversed
For the first time in our 24-years of Spring Training experience, the visiting team has its starters on display and the home team is fielding the second unit. Obviously, in this case, the two teams share the same facilities and the "home" and "away" is a bit deceptive. Both are actually at "home". Manager Don Mattingly had previously announced that he will play the regulars two games, then give them a day off, unlike the usual regulars play at home and the kids make the road trips. This is despite a much abused rule that a set numbers of regulars must make the trips. In today's case, it is a treat for minor league aficionados to get to watch some the future Dodgers perform in a starting role.

Today's lineup:

Tony Gwynn, rf
Aaron Miles, 2b
Dioner Navarro, c
Xavier Paul, dh
Trayvon Robinson, cf
Gabe Kapler, lf
Russell Mitchell, 1b
Juan Castro, 3b
Justin Sellers, ss
The Game
Clayton Kershaw, the designated starter for the regular season opener against the Giants, sailed through three innings although he allowed an opening walk to former Dodger Juan Pierre and a single to Gordon Beckman. Dioner Navarro threw Pierre out attempting to steal third and Kershaw struck out Adam Dunn and another former Dodger Paul Konerko.

He allowed, if that is the word, the Sox first run of the game inn the third inning after an error by shortstop Justin Sellers, an error by Navarro on a steal of third and an error by Kershaw himself on a ball that Pierre scuffed in front of the plate that was thrown into the stands behind first base.

Jonathan Broxton pitched around the Dodgers fourth error of the game, a ball fumbled by Ivan De Jesus after he caught up with it deep in the grass in right field. The gentlemen of the press box argued it should have been a hit instead of a boot but got nowhere with their semi-serious appeal.

The Sox caught the error bug in bottom of the fourth after Tony Gwynn had collected the first Dodgers hit of the game, a single to right, then had stolen second. An infield hit and an error by the shortstop on a ball hit by Aaron Miles, allowed Gwynn to score. Miles scored with two out on a booming triple to deep right-center by Trayvon Robinson, giving Los Angeles their first lead by a 2-1 margin.

The Dodgers added four runs in the fifth. With one out, Juan Castro singled and Ivan De Jesus ran for him. In fact, he ran immediately to second base, the second Dodger steal of the game. Jamie Hoffman's double into the corner drove in the third run of the game and Sellers, who had walked, stopped at third. Eugene Velez's ground ball caught Sellers in a pickle for the second out. Velez stole second and Hector Gimenez walked. Pinch-hitter Damasco Espino then dropped a soft single into right field for two more runs.

Matt Guerrier worked a scoreless fifth, Ron Mahay allowed a walk and a double in the sixth as the Sox closed to 6-2. Travis Schlichting took over in the top of the seventh and after retiring the first two Chicago hitters allowed a walk and three hits, good for three runs to cut the Dodgers lead to 6-5.

Michael Antonini restored order with a 1-2-3 eighth inning before rookie Nate Eovaldi slammed the door so fast that if any of the 3.963 in attendance has blinked, they mad missed part of it. He earned a save in the process.

The Dodgers managed seven hits over the afternoon, with Jamie Hoffmann adding a pair and Trayvon Robinson whacking a triple.

Benefit Exhibition Game
Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles, reports that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will play a split-squad game in Tucson on March 24 with the proceeds going to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund. Christina, the 10-year-old daughter of Dodgers scout John Green, was killed in a shooting incident in Tucson January 8. The Diamondbacks will also play an additional game with the White Sox on March 7 for the same cause.