The Hitters You Didn’t Expect to Lead Offensively

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(Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks Thursday night for their third win in a row and fifth overall. Seven games into the season, the Dodgers have a record of 5-2, and their two MVPs, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger, are batting .185 combined. However, the Dodgers still continue to find ways to win games.

The resurgence of a healthy Corey Seager has indeed carried a good part of the Los Angeles offensive load. Seager is off to a hot start in 2020 batting .321 with two homers and two doubles. The former Rookie of the Year seems to make a loud out every time he doesn’t smack a base hit. Some fans were wondering how long it would take the 26-year-old shortstop to return to form, while others felt he might not return to his dominant days at all.

Another player fans did not expect to see a fast start in blue was outfielder A.J. Pollock. The former Diamondback has begun the season 8-for-17 with a home run, two doubles, and an average of .471. He joined the team late at Summer Camp after overcoming coronavirus and his daughter’s premature birth.

Pollock was snagged as a free agent on a five-year contract with the before the 2019 season. Fans had got a good look at him after he tormented the Dodgers as an adversary with the NL West rivals Diamondbacks. The one-time All-Star dealt with injury problems for his later years in Arizona and also saw time on the injured list in his first year as a Dodger.

The outfielder posted a .266 batting average, with 15 homers and 47 RBI in 86 games last season. However, much to the displeasure of fans, he failed to record a hit in the 2019 postseason in 13 at-bats, while also striking out 11 times.

Pollock seems to be locked in during the start of this shortened season. He’s started both at the designated hitter spot and in the outfield. The 32-year-old Connecticut native hit his first homer of the season against his former team Thursday night. It surely is a small sample size, but if Pollock can continue anything close to this production, once Betts and Bellinger get settled in alongside Seager, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy, it can be a nightmare scenario for opposing pitchers.

“To get here, it’s been a journey,” said Pollock during a post-game interview while also reminiscing about his injuries and recent situations.

“I showed up late to Summer Camp, just going with the flow, I got coronavirus and all the stuff I had to go through to be able to play,” said Pollock.

Pollock’s best season statistically was his 2015 all-star season when he had an average of .315 with 29 homers and 76 RBI. He also stole a career-high 39 bases during that campaign, something he usually doesn’t do anymore. His OPS that year was also a career-high at .865.

Looking at Friday’s contest, the Dodgers will send young righty Tony Gonsolin to the mound for his first start of the 2020 campaign. To make room on the active roster, the Dodgers optioned Josh Sborz who they just called up a couple of days ago and did not make any appearances.

Gonsolin is making the start in place of injured starter Alex Wood. The 26-year-old right-hander appeared in 11 games for the Dodgers in 2019 while starting six games. He went 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA while striking out 37 batters in 40 innings pitched.

Gonsolin was named the 2018 Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year and was drafted by the Dodgers in 2016.

He will face righty Zac Gallen in the probable pitching matchup Friday evening.

Friday’s lineup:

  • Muncy DH
  • Betts RF
  • Bellinger CF
  • Turner 3B
  • Seager SS
  • Taylor 2B
  • Pederson LF
  • Rios 1B
  • Barnes C
  • (Gonsolin)

First pitch is 6:40 p.m. Los Angeles time.

 

12 thoughts on “The Hitters You Didn’t Expect to Lead Offensively

    1. Doc refuses to play the hot hand if his numbers show him that he shouldn’t. I’ve always believed that momentum is king in baseball and if a guy is hot he can hit anyone. Maybe the algorithms prove me wrong, but I’ve never been wrong before.

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      1. Whenever he gets like this a couple of bunts and hitting to left usually gets him out of it. You would think someone in the dugout would point that out to him.

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  1. Why would Bellinger change his swing after and MVP year? Makes no sense and it’s obviously not working yet. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

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    1. Apparently Bellinger thought it was “broke”, or should that be “were broke”. Any way, he had that spectacular start to the season but felt that his second half was not what he wanted. Much more of this start and he’ll be happy to go back to last year’s second half stats.

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  2. Kersh officially the starter on Sunday and Buehler Monday against the Friars. Wrong move. Kersh is not that great at Chase with a record of 6-9 and an ERA north of 4. Against SD, he is 9-2 at Petco with an ERA below 2. He has given up 14 homers at Chase in 103.1 innings and 7 in 101.2 innings at Petco.

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  3. I’d rather face this Arizona lineup than San Diego..If Kersh can’t shut down the Dbacks then he’s got a problem. Against righties Id like to see Muncy at second and Rios at first. And keep Pollock’s hot bat in lineup. Kike and Taylor aren’t doing it for me.

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    1. What they need is Bellinger to come out of his funk. Rios has 2 hits in limited at bats, but there is no assurance he will keep that up. Taylor had 2 hits and a walk last night. Pederson struck out 3 times, Bellinger twice, then with the tying runs in scoring position in the 9th, he swings at the first pitch and pops out. Until he gets untracked, their only LH power is coming from Seager and Muncy.

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  4. A couple of things about last night’s game. Gonsolin did a nice job and looked pretty good for a guy who got to camp late. Seager is a beast. When he gets into one he has as much power as anyone on the team, and in a full season, I think if healthy, he could easily hit 30 HR’s. Pollock has obviously worked on his approach at the plate. He has not been chasing those down and in sliders like before. Belli looks lost and very uncomfortable. Turner has lost his stroke the last few games. Taylor has played like he always does. He never takes a bad at bat into the field. Kike is not a starting second baseman. He is and always has been better suited as a sub. Joc looks totally disinterested and bored at the plate. He shows emotion only after a bad at bat. Rios should get more reps. The catching corps is pitiful at the plate, and excellent in the field. If the whole team starts hitting on all cylinders, it won’t matter what they hit. They are in the 9 hole for a reason. When will Lux be ready, and why is McKinstry still at the alternate site? MLBPA pushing to keep the 30 man roster the entire 60 games and playoffs. Muncy is a .250 hitter with a lot of power. If he concentrated a little bit more on contact, he would hit .300. Dave Roberts either makes one move too many, or a move too late. Walking Escobar, who is hitting .130 to face Walker who is hitting .300 was pure lunacy. I do not care about the righty righty matchup. He also sent a kid who had just made his MLB debut and had a clean inning back out to the mound when he should have pulled him. Gonzalez will be a good pitcher soon, but he wasn’t ready for that. If you are going to throw a guy for more than an inning, why not do it with Ferguson? Fergie has been mowing them down.

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