One day after coming up short against the cellar-dwelling Padres, the Dodgers have decided to employ yet another lineup variation to face 22-year-old righty Jacob Nix in the second game of the series on Saturday night.
The biggest change for Los Angeles is Manny Machado moving to the cleanup spot. Max Muncy, who normally plays first base against southpaws and hits fourth or fifth, assumes Machado’s spot in the three-hole.
Two other new looks for the Dodgers occur as right fielder Yasiel Puig hits out of the sixth hole, while Chris Taylor garners a start at second base and hits eighth.
In the series opener, the Dodgers outhit the Padres 9-8 with primarily their right-handed lineup, but were ultimately defeated, 5-3. Young lefty Eric Lauer went five strong innings for San Diego, giving up just one earned run on four hits and two walks.
With the defeat, the Dodgers saw their division lead shorten to 1-1/2 games as the Rockies secured a 6-2 victory against the Diamondbacks.
Rich Hill, who has given up four earned runs in each of his last three starts, will take the mound for the Dodgers. The good news is that the Los Angeles offense has been producing behind Hill, scoring an impressive 49 runs in the last five games he has started.
First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.
We’ve been talking about it a lot lately, and it seems to gain momentum in the critical games, especially when they’re played in the thin air of Coors Field. Whomever is writing out the lineup card for the Dodgers is sticking to their guns, though, despite the club failing to deliver at times when they need to win the most.
I’m not a big fan of writing about lineup design, particularly when it comes to the Dodgers and the complex tactics they use putting together the daily batting orders. At first glance, the lineups sometimes look carefully thought-out and well constructed, while other times the order looks like it will have absolutely no success at all. Additionally, fans often see a player who is scorching hot at the plate given an unwarranted day off, resulting in frustrating reactions, especially when the team is not winning.
Believe it or not, some people saw a bit of logic when the Dodgers ignored their suspect bullpen while trying to upgrade their offense at the non-waiver trade deadline last month. After all, there were some internal moving pieces which would improve the relief corps, and the addition of two of the best available offensive weapons would seemingly allow the squad to slug its way into the postseason.
Undoubtedly, the most common conversation topics these days between fans of the Dodgers have been about inconsistencies in several areas of the game, primarily discussions regarding either the sputtering offense or the somewhat unsteady starting rotation, with the bullpen not being far behind.
On Monday night, the Dodgers scored 10 runs, five days after being beaten by an offensively dominant Oakland team, 16-6. For the first 10-12 games of the season, many asked: “Where oh where is the Dodgers’ offense?”
For as much as the big league club has been struggling with its offense so far this season, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have been making up for it with their own bats. The Triple-A crew is off to fine 5-1 record as a team, as they’re hitting a combined .306/.377/.447 through the first six games of the young campaign. Although the 19-run output against Round Rock earlier this week represents a big chunk of their production, they still have put 40 runs on the board so far, which translates to 6.67 runs scored per game—a very impressive number any way you look at it.
Cactus League play is is full session, and all the attention is on the performance of the big league Dodgers. But while there are indeed quite a bit of farmhands suiting up on the major league side of camp, the official reporting date for the minor league affiliates isn’t until March 7.