Dodgers @ Pirates, July 21, 2014: Pick An Outfield Out Of A Hat

Sometimes, game threads can get a bit tedious. “Here’s the lineup. This guy has done well against that pitcher. That guy gets a day off.” And so on.

Dodgers
Pirates
4:05 p.m. PT
Pittsburgh, Pa.
2B
Gordon
3B
Harrison
SS
Turner
LF
Marte
1B
Gonzalez
CF
McCutchen
RF
Kemp
1B
Sanchez
CF
Ethier
2B
Walker
LF
Crawford
C
Martin
3B
Uribe
SS
Mercer
C
Ellis
RF
Martinez
P
Ryu (L)
P
Volquez (R)

But that’s more the case for a regular team, and this is not a regular team. This is a team that is a gift from the gods, because there’s almost always something interesting to talk about. Like today, where neither Yasiel Puig nor Hanley Ramirez are in the lineup, and Ramirez is totally unavailable. (I, for one, am shocked that his proclamation that he could play today turned out to be incorrect.) Or that Matt Kemp is starting in right field for the first time since 2009, a position where he hasn’t played a full game since 2008. (Starters in that game: Danny Ardoin, Greg Maddux, Angel Berroa, Blake DeWitt. Geez, Kemp really has been around a long time.)

Not that Kemp in right is a bad thing; far from it. With his strong throwing arm, it’s where I’ve wanted him for many years. It’s just funny, because on July 12, after Puig was ejected in San Diego, Kemp moved from left to center, and Andre Ethier from center to right, so that Carl Crawford could enter in left. But now, with the exact same trio, it’s Kemp in right field. It’s just an endlessly confusing game of musical chairs here, and while I’m sure there’s some reasoning behind it, I certainly couldn’t tell you what it was. Kemp has taken zero balls in right. This is going to be fun. With Ramirez out and Puig questionable, that makes Drew Butera, Scott Van Slyke and Miguel Rojas all that Don Mattingly has to call on tonight. Good times all around.

On the other hand, it could be worse. In right field tonight for Pittsburgh, the Pirates are starting Michael Martinez, a 31-year-old utility player with a career line of .184/.234/.257. Rookie Gregory Polanco, who became a star after a huge first two weeks in the bigs, has cratered to a line of .246/.331/.324 and has only six hits in 45 plate appearances against lefties, so he gets the night off.

In other news, Josh Beckett is definitely starting tomorrow, so someone is going to have to go. Don’t get comfy, Paco Rodriguez. Also, Ken Gurnick reports a very carefully-worded tweet, which is that thanks to two off days in the next week, Mattingly could “manipulate the rotation without skipping Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, or Hyun-jin Ryu. Clearly, I’m not the only one thinking about Dan Haren‘s vesting option.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.