Pirates @ Dodgers Sept. 18, 2015: Welcome Back, Howie Kendrick

People love to complain about Chris Heisey. They just love it. To be fair, he’s not exactly done much as a Dodger — .167/.327/.214 in 55 plate appearances — but every time he’s in the lineup, I hear complaints about it, wanting to know what Don Mattingly sees in him.

Pirates
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
RF
Polanco
LF
Ruggiano
LF
Marte
2B
Utley
CF
McCutchen
3B
Turner
3B
Ramirez
1B
Gonzalez
2B
Walker
C
Ellis
1B
Alvarez
SS
Seager
SS
Mercer
RF
Heisey
C
Stewart
CF
Pederson
P
Locke (L)
P
Greinke (R)

Seems simple enough to me, though: He sees an outfielder who hits from the right side, on a team that’s without the injured Yasiel Puig, Enrique Hernandez, and Scott Van Slyke. (Van Slyke is dealing with a hand injury and may or may not be available this weekend.) That makes Justin Ruggiano, leading off tonight, a given, and it forces Joc Pederson in against lefty Jeff Locke. You really want Andre Ethier? Or Carl Crawford? And does any of this matter right now, as we simply wait out the regular season? No. It does not.

Tonight is a little different, though. For the first time in six weeks, Howie Kendrick is available, having been activated from the disabled list. He’s not starting tonight, but he’s likely to get back in there against Francisco Liriano tomorrow. We also know that Mike Bolsinger will start on Sunday to get Brett Anderson an extra day of rest, so he’ll go Monday.

But really, unlike the seemingly endless games against Colorado and Arizona and San Diego and friends, this is an opponent you should really pay attention to. The Pirates are a really, really good team, and a potential playoff opponent, though it’ll likely require beating the Cubs in the wild card game and the Cardinals in the NLDS to do so. It’s a damn shame that rookie sensation Jung Ho Kang won’t be around to help after breaking his leg the other night, but this is still one of the elite teams in baseball. You’ll want to watch them. They’re fun.

Oh, and for the one millionth time: It’s not the job of the manager to tell you the truth. You might want it to be, you might wish it was, but it is not:

About Mike Petriello

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