Will Dodgers’ Outfield Hold Up for 2021 Postseason?

Despite several lingering injury concerns, the Los Angeles Dodgers remain in striking distance to capture a ninth-straight National League West division crown. With 11 games left on the regular-season schedule, Los Angeles trails the San Francisco Giants by just one full game heading into Wednesday’s action.

Injuries have hit the Dodgers hard this year in multiple areas. Among the most recent concerns is the makeup of the outfield, as Cody Bellinger was placed on the injured list on Thursday with a left rib fracture. Chris Taylor remains out of the lineup on Wednesday night with a neck injury, and Gavin Lux even missed time last week with a minor forearm injury.

The good news is that AJ Pollock was activated on Wednesday, although he is not included on the initial lineup card for the evening game. Instead, Luke Raley gets another start in right field with Mookie Betts manning center and Lux in left. Skipper Dave Roberts told reporters before Wednesday’s game that Pollock would be available off the bench and would likely start in the finale against Colorado on Thursday.

The other good news is that Betts has been playing regularly and hasn’t shown any obvious signs of the hip injury that has hampered him most of the season. Since returning from the injured list on August 26, Betts has slashed .267/.373/.442 with four homers and 11 RBI. However, over his last 16 games, he has hit .328/.408/.475, which is much more promising.

Bellinger’s move to the injured list was not surprising, whether the severity of his injury required the stay or not. His average recently fell below the .160 mark, leaving many fans wondering if his recent inclusion in the lineup was warranted, even if it meant inserting someone like Raley or Steven Souza Jr. in his place.

Indeed, the condition of Bellinger’s shoulder played a significant role in his performance this year, but it still does not give the team an excuse for including him on the daily lineup card. If he’s going to reach base just 2.3 times over every 10 AB, it’s time to think about other options.

Looking ahead to the playoffs, concerns right now surround Taylor, who has been dealing with neck soreness for weeks. Pollock’s injury history also lingers in the back of many people’s minds, even though he’s amid one of his most productive seasons in several years.

If Betts, Pollock and Taylor can stay healthy, the Los Angeles outfield unit is as good as any club that will be playoff bound. However, should one of those players be absent from the lineup in the postseason, there will be cause for concern, especially if Bellinger stays out of the picture.

Coincidentally, the Dodgers designated righty reliever Shane Greene for assignment to make room for Pollock.

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15 thoughts on “Will Dodgers’ Outfield Hold Up for 2021 Postseason?

  1. Doc says AJ will probably start in left tomorrow with Lux in center. Somehow I doubt he asked Scherzer before he made that announcement. Putting Lux in center with about one game there in his past baseball history is probably asking for trouble. Centerfield at Coors is like having to cover the Grand Canyon. I guess they don’t want to put too much stress on AJ’s hammie and CT3 is obviously not ready to play, so there aren’t many options.

    We’re just a couple of injuries away from starting an outfield of Lux, Raley and McKinstry in the playoffs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Muncy appeared in six games in left field after the Dodgers initially brought him up in 2018. Over the course of his big league career, he played 10 games in left and 17 games in right. Don’t forget that Trea Turner played quite a bit of center field, too. 45 games to be exact.

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  2. Hopefully, Orel and Joe will be OK. I have had two vaccinated friends with blow-through Covid infections both down for 2 weeks feeling weak. They recovered. The guy that we are sure gave my best friend the infection at work was not vaccinated and was on a ventilator for two weeks and just passed. The point is to be careful out there…One daughter is an ICU Nurse in the Bay area. They are not full but everyone in ICU for the last month has been un-vaccinated a lot of them do not make it.

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  3. Raley did not hit well in a small sample earlier but hit well at OKC. Nerves? Hoping he steps up with another chance. Very glad to see Pollock back.

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  4. I’ve previously wondered about Trea Turner playing OF and Lux back at 2B being a better solution since TT at least has had some experience at OF a few years ago. Lux is giving his all out there and his bat has come around.

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  5. Trea Turner really dislikes the outfield and he has not played there since 2016. I am more worried about what seems to be a gassed pitching staff than the outfield. Lefty starting today, Freeland. Pujols will probably get the start at first. Pollock owns the guy so he is going to be out there. Taylor still suffering with a sore neck, so he is probably not playing. Pujols, 1B, Turner, 2B, Seager SS, Turner 3B, Pollock, Lux and Betts in the OF with Mookie back in RF and Pollock in CF. Barnes will probably catch Mad Max.

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      1. I saw that. Playing CF for the first time in your career and it is at Coors???? Not too smart a decision in my book. They are counting on his speed and athleticism to be able to cover all that ground. Barnes catching I nailed, but surprised Albert is not playing first. Need to jump on Freeland early and often and make this one a laugher.

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      2. I don’t have any stats in front of me but I seem to recall that Freeland has pitched some good games against us. On the other hand, Max has had some pretty lousy results at Coors although he hasn’t pitched there in about 5 years.

        And nobody asked me but I definitely would have started Albert at first today.

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      3. 3-7 in his career against LA. He is 22-18 at Coors field. 3 of his 7 losses to LA came at Dodger Stadium, so he is 2-4 at Coors against them. He has allowed 12 HRs in 89 innings against LA. He is 1-2 against them this season. His win came at Dodger Stadium. His only decision at Coors against them he lost. He has a 2.28 ERA against them this season and he has given up 4 dingers.

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