Cubs @ Dodgers Aug. 29, 2015: Mat Latos returns & Pedro Baez, long reliever

With the Giants having lost this afternoon, the Dodgers go into tonight’s game with a 3-game lead on the hated ones. Unfortunately for LA, Jon Lester is on the mound for the Cubs. But hey, Mat Latos is back after a more than 2-week absence.

Cubs
Dodgers
6:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Fowler
SS
Rollins
LF
Schwarber
CF
Hernandez
RF
Coghlan
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Rizzo
3B
Turner
3B
Bryant
RF
Van Slyke
C
Montero
LF
Crawford
SS
Russell
C
Ellis
P
Lester (L)
2B
Peraza
2B
LaStella
P
Latos (R)

And, as should be a surprise to no one, the Dodgers are going with a mostly right-handed lineup. The two exceptions being Adrian Gonzalez (duh) and Carl Crawford. It’s nice to see Crawford getting some playing time — especially against a lefty. He only has 16 plate appearances against them this year, but he had 64 (still #sss) against them in 2014 and hit .321/.381/.500 against them. We know Andre Ethier isn’t going to get the call against a southpaw, so it’s Crawford by default.

Justin Turner is starting for the fifth consecutive day. It’s the first time this season that has happened and it’s a tad concerning. It’s well-known Turner isn’t a true everyday player (by his own admission). He needs a day or two off per week. With no viable backup third baseman at the moment, Turner is being pushed a bit. Sure, the Dodgers could put Enrique Hernandez at third base and start Joc Pederson to give Turner a day off, but that would mean starting a guy who was just benched, and we couldn’t possibly have that happen. In all seriousness, Turner does need a viable backup. Say what you want about Alberto Callaspo, but he provided more present value than Alex Guerrero — who is still on the team, contrary to popular belief. Also starting is Jose Peraza, fresh up from Triple-A. Speed!

And odd decision of the day goes to …

I don’t get it. While the Dodgers will have a true long reliever up in a few days (Mike Bolsinger), I don’t understand Pedro Baez being the long reliever. When I think long reliever, I think a 3-plus inning guy. I’m highly skeptical Baez has the ability to go that long in a game. Problem is, there isn’t really any other option at the moment. I’m not sure forcing a guy into an unfamiliar role is the best thing. If things go poorly tonight for Latos, Baez could see his first action in 10 days. He probably won’t be rusty, right?

=====

Better get to winning that World Series, fellas.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.