Betts tallies 3 hits for USA, Stone dominates in Dodgers loss to A’s

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Betts has had a very successful run in the World Baseball Classic.

Mookie Betts led the charge for USA in their semifinal victory over Cuba in the World Baseball Classic.

Batting leadoff, Betts went 3-6 with two runs scored. His double to lead off the bottom of the first began the rally where USA would take the lead for the remainder of the game.

Betts has led off every game in USA’s run to the championship matchup. He is batting .296 and flashing his game-changing defensive abilities in right field.

Will Smith made his second start of the WBC and went 1-4 with a walk and a run scored. In the end, USA dominated Cuba 14-2, and will play the winner of tomorrow’s Mexico-Japan semifinal for the title on Tuesday.

The most impressive performance in the Dodgers‘ spring training matchup with the A’s came from Gavin Stone.

While Stone had already been nearly perfect so far in the spring, he reached a new level in his appearance Sunday. Out the bullpen, Stone threw three scoreless innings, with eight of the nine outs he recorded coming via strikeout.

Overall this spring, Stone has thrown 6 2/3 innings with 14 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA. His split-changeup has looked like one of the best individual pitches of anyone on the Dodgers.

Stone’s absurd 2022 season where he lead the minor leagues in ERA has been well documented. This spring, he is showing that his campaign was not a fluke, and his dominance is solidifying that he will make his major league debut in 2023.

“If you don’t exude confidence, then hitters are going to have better at-bats. That’s my main focus, is to stay as confident as possible on the mound,” Stone said in his postgame interview.

Dustin May made the start against the A’s, allowing two earned runs in four innings of work. It was May’s bumpiest start of the spring, walking three and allowing three hits, but he made it out with relatively limited damage. Overall, May’s ERA this spring now stands at 2.13.

Jimmy Nelson continued to struggle, making his second straight appearance where he failed to get through a full inning. In this one, he did not record an out, issuing three walks and a hit batter before exiting.

Three of Nelson’s runners crossed the plate, raising his ERA this spring to 15.43. In only 2 1/3 innings, Nelson has issued 11 walks and has yet to record a strikeout. The Dodgers gave Nelson a major league contract with the hope he could return to his 2021 form, meaning that he will likely have to be designated for assignment if he does not make the Opening Day roster.

Dalton Rushing, the Dodgers’ top pick of their 2022 draft class, made his Cactus League debut. In his first at-bat, Rushing tallied a two-out RBI single. He is a player that could enter the Top 100 prospects list quickly if he continues to hit like he has since turning pro.

Lastly, Miguel Vargas walked twice and scored two of Los Angeles’ three runs. Even after not being allowed to swing for the first six games due to injury, Vargas has a .991 OPS this spring.

Despite the loss, the Dodgers remain in first place in the Cactus League. They will shift back to a night game tomorrow as they take on the Rockies at 6:40 p.m. PT. They have not officially announced a starter.

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