Dodgers Lineups: More Thoughts About the Leadoff Spot

Nearly a quarter into this shortened 60 game season, the Dodgers stand with a 7-4 record and tied for second place in the National League West. Throughout those 11 games, there have been multiple players who’ve hit first in the batting order.

The majority of time hitting first has been divided between Max Muncy and Mookie Betts, with Joc Pederson making an appearance last night in that spot homering on the first pitch he saw.

After Monday’s game, manager Dave Roberts said it’s a possibility that Pederson will see more time in that spot against right-handed pitching. Earlier this season, Roberts said most of the leadoff position would be divided by Betts and Muncy.

With Betts still dealing with a finger injury keeping his status day to day, Pederson can likely see more time at the number one spot until Betts fully recovers.

During the 2019 season with the Red Sox, Betts saw most of his at-bats from the leadoff spot, 413 of 597 to be exact. In the number one spot, his batting average was .283 and he had an OBP of .347. Betts also walked 64 times and scored 94 runs. He has a career batting average of .303 while hitting leadoff as it is the spot where he’s seen the most at-bats.

Muncy has struggled like many hitters to start the season as he’s only batting .200, but has hit three homers. Against the Padres on Monday night, he was hitless in four at-bats. Batting first this season, Muncy has only registered three hits in 20 at-bats. In comparison, Betts is 7-for-21 batting first this season.

Muncy last season only saw one plate appearance in the leadoff spot, with most of his at-bats came batting second. He had a.250 batting average in the two-hole while also knocking in 33. The other spot he saw a lot of at-bats was fifth where he averaged .242 and drove in 24.

Pederson last season was the Dodgers primary leadoff hitter, garnering 441 plate appearances in that spot. His batting average was .250 and he had an OBP of.342, while also tallying 33 homers in that position. He also scored 76 runs and walked 43 times. While this year he’s seen most of his at-bats seventh in the order, his only time being leadoff was Monday night going 1-for-4 with a homer.

With Muncy struggling in the leadoff spot, it will more than likely he goes to second in the batting order. He can drive in more runners from that spot, and we’ve seen him make a couple of loud outs that sometimes can move runners over. 

It would be expected that once Betts recovers, he will most likely return to the main leadoff spot, which was the idea coming into the season, being that he is also the biggest base-stealing threat on the Dodgers. With Pederson seeing time in the leadoff position against right handers, Betts could move back to second in the order and Muncy perhaps to fifth.

Roberts alluded that Pederson probably will bat leadoff more this series against the Padres. Betts’s availability is still uncertain, so we can expect Pederson in that spot. 

Dennis discussed a similar leadoff comparison between Betts and Muncy at the beginning of the year.

The Dodgers will look to even the series tonight when they face right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Los Angeles will send 22-year-old Dustin May to the mound for his third start this season. So far, May has given up two runs in 7.2 innings making starts against the Astros and the Giants.

The Dodgers fell to the Padres 5-4 in the opening game, as Walker Buehler gave up three solo home runs over five innings pitched, while Brusdar Graterol gave up two runs to take the loss.

The first pitch tonight is set for 6:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.

 

Dodgers Look to Stay Hot Heading into San Diego

It was a pretty good weekend series for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers took three of four games, extending their record to 7-3 on the season and their current road trip record to 5-1.

The most important thing that happened on Sunday was the return of Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers’ veteran looked like he did when he was in his Ace form, going five and two-thirds innings, allowing only three hits, all of which were singles, issuing no walks and striking out six. 70 percent of his 81 pitches were strikes, and he looked in control the whole time. His fastball was touching 93 mph, something it had not done in all of 2019.

“The four-seams away he was throwing me in the first inning, he hasn’t in the past thrown me a lot of those”, Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker said after the game. “They seemed like they had maybe a little bit more finish through the zone.”

It appears as if the long rest of his arm and body, coupled with what he learned at Driveline last off-season, have helped Kershaw regain some of his signature pitching. As long as his back still feels good in between starts, this version of Kershaw will again be a joy to watch.

And so the Dodgers now are in San Diego to take on the Padres. Coming into Monday’s game, the Padres sit at 6-4, third place in a tight NL West division. They have the highest average runs per game of any team in MLB at 5.9. The Dodgers have the lowest team ERA in all of MLB at 1.84, and a run differential of +30. The Dodgers had great pitching in the hitter friendly parks of Chase Field and Minute Maid Park, while the Padres just finished up a series at Coors Field in Denver, where they scored 15 runs, but lost two of the three games.

Monday night’s pitching matchup looks to be stellar. Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers, and Chris Paddack will start for the Padres. The tall righty made his debut last season and impressed. In two games so far this year, he’s allowed only two runs in 11 innings of work. Over his last six starts dating back to last season, he’s allowed only four runs over 42 innings.

Tuesday’s pitching matchup will be Dustin May and Dinelson Lamet. Wednesday will see Ross Stripling and Garrett Richards take the mound for their respective clubs.

With the Dodgers seeing all right handed starters, Joc Pederson should be given more of a chance to show his power. Mookie Betts will most likely be out for Monday’s game after hurting his left middle finger on a awkward swing, giving AJ Pollock’s hot bat a chance to remain in the lineup. We will also see if Corey Seager is well enough to return to the lineup. He may be the DH while giving his quad more of a chance to rest.

As for the Padres, Tommy Pham, Fernando Tatis Jr.and Manny Machado all are dangerous bats for the Dodgers pitching staff to deal with. Trent Grisham has three homers so far in the young season, and Pham has five stolen bases and a .969 OPS.

All games will be at 6:10 Pacific time.

 

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.

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Dodgers Bullpen Shines in Houston, Plus Arizona Series Preview

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“My head was, we need to get off this two game snide (sic) and win a game against a good ball club at their place. My heart was saying ‘I wanna beat the crap out of this team and win two games.’”

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Dodgers Place Alex Wood on IL, Prepare for Houston Series

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On Tuesday morning, the Dodgers placed left-handed pitcher Alex Wood on the injured list and recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Sborz. Wood was placed on the injured list due to shoulder inflammation.

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Dodgers Need to Find Ways to Spark Offense, If Season Continues

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In a normal season, if the Dodgers had gotten off to a 2-2 start, fans would grumble and make excuses while probably being a little concerned—overall it wouldn’t be that big a deal. After all, even though the Dodgers were playing the San Francisco Giants, who are most definitely in a rebuilding year, it’s still the Giants, and crazy things happen in games against them.

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After Successful Season Opener, Dodgers Turn to Ross Stripling in Game 2

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The Dodgers started off their season with a 8-1 win Thursday night against the rival Giants. Using a five-run seventh inning, the Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate to secure the victory.

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Dodgers’ Active Roster Set, Ready for Opening Day

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(Photo courtesy of Rick Krajewski)

“Pitchers and poets both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things” —Robert Frost

Today is the day. After a crazy offseason and an aborted Spring Training, months of downtime and then this thing called Summer Camp, baseball finally begins its 2020 season tonight.

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Dodgers Opinions: Andrew Friedman Finally Got His Man

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From some Dodgers fans’ perspectives, Andrew Friedman has not had a great career. Missed World Series wins and missed free agent signings had fans thinking he would never get the Dodgers over the hump. But this time, he came through.

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Dodgers News and Notes: Jake McGee Signs One-Year Deal, Gavin Lux Optioned

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(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

With one exhibition game left before the Dodgers begin their regular season Thursday against the Giants, the front office made a few personnel moves Tuesday morning.

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