James Loney gets the start at first base for the Dodgers on Saturday night against right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco. It marks the 10th consecutive game Loney and Juan Rivera have alternated starts based on the handedness of the opposing starter.
It has been that way for two months, with the caveat that Rivera does start against some right-handers. But James Loney hasn't started against a left-handed pitcher since June 13, when he started at first base against C.J. Wilson of the Angels and Rivera started in left field.
Since then, Rivera has started against all 17 left-handed starters the Dodgers have faced, and in those games he has hit three home runs but with a batting line of .169/.216/.356 (he has hit .296/.345/.370 in his seven starts against right-handers during that time). On the season, Rivera is hitting .257/.310/.419 against left-handed pitching, down from his .286/.333/.488 career mark against southpaws.
Since that June 13 against Wilson, Loney is hitting .244/.258/.300 in his 25 starts against right-handers. On the season, Loney is hitting .257/.312/.343 with two home runs against right-handed pitching, down from his .296/.354/.444 career line against righties.
Simply performing to their career norms against opposite-handed pitchers would give the Dodgers a huge boost at first base, a position that has hit .248/.295/.353 with seven home runs and 50 RBI in 113 games this season.
Rivera's home run Friday night was a start. Let's see what his platoon mate can do Saturday when he takes the baton.
Loney looks to improve on his 0-for-6 career mark against Nolasco, which includes two strikeouts.
Game Time: 4:10 p.m.