The Dodgers are going for the sweep of the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, and they have a bit of a house money lineup on getaway day. For one, Andre Ethier is not in the starting lineup against left-handed starting pitcher Jeff Locke for Pittsburgh.
Locke is the third southpaw starter faced by the Dodgers in six games this season, and the first time Ethier has not been in the starting lineup. Ethier started 54 of 60 games when available in 2012 against left-handed pitchers.
Ethier has hit just .239/.297/.358 in his career against left-handed pitching, including .222/.276/.330 in 2012. But in the early going this season, Ethier is hitting .375 (3-for-8) with two doubles and a home run against southpaws.
Manager Don Mattingly said he was just giving Ethier a breather, especially with left-handers Clayton Richard and Eric Stults pitching for the Padres in San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
"It's not that he really needed a day, but I just wanted to keep him fresh. We got two in San Diego, so this gives us a breather. It's not a day off, because we'll use him," Mattingly said. "Just from seeing Andre over the years, I know if I can keep him fresh he'll be stronger."
Mark Ellis, who drove in the only run on Saturday night, is in the same boat, somebody Mattingly wants to keep fresh with regular rest, much more so than Ethier.
Luis Cruz, off to an 0-for-17 start to the season, is also sitting.
"There is always going to be a period of the season that you hit one of these spells, and Luis has just had it right out of the gate. That kind of builds on you, with the season started and you don't have a hit," Mattingly said.
"Mentally he needs to put those behind him. He can't change those first five games of the season, no matter how much he might like to," said Mattingly. "He needs a day to sit there and watch, to back off a little bit, where he gets to see the forest, because he was geting a little too close to those trees."
Jerry Hairston Jr. gets the start in right field, with Nick Punto at second base and Juan Uribe at third base. A.J. Ellis gets his first rest from behind the plate on Sunday, with Tim Federowicz making the start three days before he will be optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Time: 1:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket