dodger_stadium_openingday2013

Pirates @ Dodgers May 30, 2014: That Is Certainly A Lineup

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight is the Dodgers’ first start against a left-handed pitcher (Francisco Liriano) since May 22nd against the Mets. That was eight games ago. Matt Kemp‘s benching started after that game and Hanley Ramirez‘ brief injury issues weren’t far behind. Carl Crawford‘s ankle hadn’t exploded yet, either. A lot has changed since then, so the “standard lefty lineup” isn’t particularly applicable anymore.

So, tonight, we get… this. Let’s start with the positive and/or neutral side of things. Adrian Gonzalez is getting the night off, which is fine since he’s started the last 21 consecutive games. Scott Van Slyke will take his place at first base. As a result, Matt Kemp is in the lineup, batting 5th. After everything that has happened recently, it wasn’t really a guarantee.

Pirates
Dodgers
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
RF
Harrison
2B
Gordon
2B
Walker
3B
Figgins
CF
McCutchen
RF
Puig
1B
Davis
SS
Ramirez
C
Martin
LF
Kemp
3B
Alvarez
1B
Van Slyke
LF
Marte
CF
Ethier
SS
Barmes
C
Butera
P
Liriano (L)
P
Beckett (R)

After that, things make less sense. Andre Ethier is in against a lefty, but at least he’s near the bottom of the lineup. There really wasn’t much of a chance of Ethier not being in center after the circus which moved Kemp out of the spot. It still remains to be seen what will be done between Ethier and Kemp when Gonzalez doesn’t get a regular night off, but the Dodgers are punting that decision for now. Then we have the top of the lineup. Dee Gordon is leading off against a lefty, which is pretty awful (Gordon has a career OBP of .255 against left-handed pitchers, and this year’s very small sample hasn’t been any better). Chone Figgins is also batting second for some reason.

Since Dee is most peoples’ platonic ideal of a leadoff hitter (especially against right-handed pitching), there probably isn’t much hope of him being moved out of the spot. However, I think the ideal candidate for the leadoff spot against left-handed pitching is… Matt Kemp. Kemp’s career OBP against left-handed pitching is .394 (yes, he’s been having a hard time against them this year, but that sample is way too small to be meaningful in any way). It will never, ever happen, but it’d be my preferred alignment.

In the end, we have to remind ourselves that lineup construction doesn’t matter very much. Tonight’s starting pitcher, Josh Beckett, matters much more. He’s taking the mound tonight for the first time since tossing a no-hitter. The odds of him pulling a Johnny Vander Meer are almost nil, but we can always hope. Really, the most important thing is that he gets deep into the game, which will be challenging after the 128 pitches on Sunday. Kenley Jansen and J.P. Howell are both well-rested, so if Beckett can make it through seven innings the Dodgers might be able to avoid going through the rest of the horror show.

Joc Pederson was scratched from Albuquerque’s lineup tonight. Twitter was excited for about sixty seconds, but he’s just sick.

Mon 8/25Tues 8/26Wed 8/27Thurs 8/28Fri 8/29Sat 8/30Sun 8/31
RP. Baez-15-1320
RK. Correia--22
RC. Frias--11
RY. Garcia
LJ.P. Howell-10-912
RK. Jansen-12-
RB. League-20-11
RC. Perez
RB. Wilson--65
RJ. Wright-4-1511

About

Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area and remains a Dodger fan despite currently residing in Salem, MA. As an engineer, he’s fascinated by the math and science behind the game of baseball, which probably explains a lot. He started “Blog To The Score” in late 2013 to dig deeper into the numbers behind the Dodgers. In its brief lifespan, it gained attention from local and national media. You can find him spending too much time in the comments section or on Twitter.