Being that the San Francisco Giants have resided in the cellar of the National League West for almost the entirety of the season, coupled with the fact that they are only a few games away from the Philadelphia Phillies for having the worst record in all of baseball, one would have presumed that a three-game series at AT&T Park was just what the doctor ordered to ease the Los Angeles Dodgers out of perhaps one of their worst team slumps in decades.
Granted, there were indeed some unique circumstances surrounding the opener on Monday night. There was nearly a three-hour delay which could have ripped away the focus from any club. Then there’s the whole philosophy of the rivalry between the two clubs, which, in turn, leads to the most competitive of contests regardless of the circumstances or the squads’ records.
Then there was the lineup card of the Dodgers. Curtis Granderson leading off. Adrian Gonzalez, who has recently been feeling the effects of an ailing back, batting sixth and playing first base. Yasmani Grandal hitting right behind Gonzalez, which surely doesn’t help the fluidity of movement on the basepaths. No Chris Taylor. And no Andre Ethier, who has a career .326/.401/.466 slash line over 73 games in San Francisco.
Resting players is totally understandable, but there’s still at least three full weeks remaining in the regular season. And with the way the Dodgers have been starving for a win, there’s still enough time for them to run their best lineup on the field for four or five consecutive days, then rotate rest periods for a week after that, followed by another week-long tuneup for all the regulars. Instead, followers of the team are still seeing experimental situations, such as Granderson leading off, Grandal hitting cleanup, or Joc Pederson manning left field with yet another batting stance—something that should surely be reserved for the depths of the minor league system. On a bright note, however, at least the team has turned up the urgency knob just a tad by abandoning the desire to give Alex Verdugo and O’Koyea Dickson starting nods in the outfield, or hitting Enrique Hernandez, he of the .215 batting average, third or fourth in the lineup.
And this isn’t the first time that we’ve discussed the idea of a lopsided batting order. Many followers of the team thought the lineups would become more solidified with a healthy Corey Seager returning, however, the daily variations are still consistently present.
From a fan’s perspective, it’s tough to tell if most of the daily lineups are spontaneously devised or if there’s a detailed plan involved. For all we know, there could be some type of spreadsheet or master chart handed down from the front office outlining orders of a resting scheme for all of the regulars during the stretch run of the regular season. And while it’s understandable that there are at least a handful of ongoing competitions for prospective spots on the playoff roster, one would think that the possibility of home field advantage throughout the playoffs would weigh heavily on some of the decision making.
So outside of all the “team meetings,” the motivational speeches, and the extra time in the batting cages, perhaps it’s about time for the Dodgers to bite the bullet and run out their absolute best lineup for about a week straight—just to get a win under their belts and establish a bit of momentum.
After that, we can then move along to the pitching side of things.
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