I’m not sure if people immediately scroll past the words to get to the lineup on these posts — it’s probably fair if you do — and so if you did, you would notice that today’s Dodger lineup is a little… weird. No, it’s not weird because Jamie Romak is playing third. And it’s not weird because Scott Van Slyke is starting in center; that’s become something of a regular occurrence. It’s weird because Van Slyke is starting in center against Bronson Arroyo, a pitcher who decidedly does not throw with his left hand. You get Van Slyke over Andre Ethier against lefties; they’re basically the perfect platoon partners. Against righties, well, it’s a bit more confusing.
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Now, Eric Stephen asked Don Mattingly about it, and the answer was “Mattingly feels comfortable with Van Slyke in center field and Ethier is just getting a day off from starting.” Which, fine, I guess, except for this: tomorrow night, the Dodgers face Colorado’s Tyler Matzek. He’s a lefty. After righty Jhoulys Chacin on Tuesday, they get lefty Jorge De La Rosa on Wednesday.
It’s not like there isn’t ample opportunity to get Ethier a break over the next few days, so I’m wondering what the real story is here. If it’s an injury or something personal that Mattingly doesn’t want to disclose, well, okay. If we see Ethier starting against a lefty while Van Slyke sits in the next few days, that’s just inexcusable. Ethier isn’t a major league hitter against lefties. Van Slyke may not be against righties. There’s more to this story. There has to be.
Now, I can already hear the wheels turning in your head: it’s a trade! And I guess I can’t say for sure that it’s not, but the latest reports on Carl Crawford‘s rehab are that he’s “stuck,” whatever that means. That doesn’t mean they can’t trade an outfielder, but just perhaps that now’s not the time to do it. Of course, we’re clearly overthinking all of this. Since when do Dodger lineup decisions make sense?
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