PHOENIX, Ariz. -- After two perfect innings against the A's on Monday, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was roughed up for the second time in as many spring starts and again had no explanation.
Kershaw said he was fine physically after allowing all five batters he faced in the third inning to reach base, three on walks, all five scoring, before manager Don Mattingly yanked him. The A's scored seven runs in the inning en route to a 7-3 victory at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
In his Cactus League debut on Wednesday, Kershaw allowed three runs on five hits in two innings. This time he was charged with five runs in two-plus innings, with three walks, two strikeouts and two hits.
Although he still is in pole position to start for the Dodgers in Australia after making 50 pitches, Kershaw wouldn't get the nod if self-confidence was a prerequisite.
"It's not fun to deal with," said Kershaw, who has an 18.00 ERA. "Physically, I feel great. I don't have any excuses. I don't know, searching for answers right now. I know it's Spring Training, it doesn't matter, but it matters to me."
Mattingly said he wasn't panicking.
"The first two innings were really good, then he got out of rhythm and couldn't find it," Mattingly said. "Good thing is, it's Spring Training, that's why we're here. He had the same kind of spring last year. He has a level of expectation of always being good. I don't have a problem with that. He expects to be in midseason form, and we keep working toward that. He gets frustrated. That's why we love him."
Last year, Kershaw was charged with four earned runs in five innings after two Spring Training starts.
"He just couldn't get the train back on the rails," said A.J. Ellis, who did not catch Kershaw last week. "They did a great job laying off borderline pitches, and he found himself in bad counts.
"Clayton's not one for thinking about a quality work day. He self-judges based on results. The first two innings he was not just good, but dominant. Not finishing the third inning, I know that's going to eat at him. We talked on the ride over. He's a pretty simple guy. He comes to pitch. He's not working on things, he does that in bullpen sessions. In a game situation, for him it's time to compete. Today he had a little hiccup."
Gordon, Rosin provide silver lining
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Second-base contender Dee Gordon and Rule 5 Draft acquisition Seth Rosin were two of the few bright spots in a 7-3 loss to the A's on Monday that saw the Dodgers commit four errors, two by defensive whiz Miguel Rojas at shortstop.
Gordon ripped a two-run triple, his second in as many days, while Rosin pitched three scoreless innings.
Gordon said his offense has improved after a winter working with Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin.
"I've finally learned to turn on an inside pitch," said Gordon. "Larkin had been watching how pitchers were pitching me inside, the tendencies against me. I'm using my hands better. I've gotten to the point where if I don't do it right, I'm aware of it and can correct it."
Meanwhile, Rosin struck out three after fanning five in two innings last week. The Dodgers need to fit him onto a crowded staff by Opening Day or likely lose him back to the Phillies.
Manager Don Mattingly said he liked the way Rosin pitched out of a jam in his first inning, runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth.
The Dodgers also got two hits each from Andre Ethier and designated hitter Miguel Olivo.
Brandon League made his first game appearance and allowed two runs in one inning. League has been slowed by a mild lat strain.
• Carl Crawford tested his right quad running the bases and might return to game action on Tuesday.
• Mattingly also announced that pitching prospect Ross Stripling will fly to Los Angeles and meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache to discuss options for his right elbow ligament. It is believed torn and possibly in need of Tommy John surgery.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.