Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, for lack of a better term, quit messing around and is starting both Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez against Madison Bumgarner and the Giants on Thursday afternoon.
There is no debating the Dodgers' superior depth on offense this season. It has helped them overcome injuries to Yasiel Puig and (to a much lesser extent) Carl Crawford, and has provided opportunities for days off for most regulars.
The Dodgers have tried an all-right-handed lineup against Bumgarner twice this season, which produced three total runs and two losses. Teams have tried this strategy against Bumgarner all season; he has faced a left-handed hitter in only 18 plate appearances all season, just 8.6 percent of his total.
Five of those plate appearances by lefties have been pitchers, including four by Clayton Kershaw.
The Dodgers also tried an all-righty lineup on Saturday against Jorge De La Rosa and scored only one run.
While it's all well and good to try to gain advantages whenever possible and to give people days off, and while I usually abhor the incessant whining over lineups and batting order, sometimes it's good to play your best players, too.
On the season, Gonzalez (.345/.420/.655) is second and Pederson (.236/.391/.528) is sixth in the National League in OPS. Both are superior defensively.
Gonzalez is 10-for-30 (.333) with six doubles and a home run against southpaws this season.
Pederson is 3-for-19 (.158) with five walks (.333 on-base percentage) against left-handed pitchers, but he hit .290/.415/.580 against lefties in 2014 and he's only 23; there is still plenty of time for him to develop, and he at least deserves the chance to prove he can't hit southpaws.
Jimmy Rollins sits in the finale, with Kiké Hernandez starting at shortstop for the fourth time this season. A.J. Ellis starts at catcher, his 11th start of the season in 40 games, and sixth time catching Kershaw in nine starts.
Joaquin Arias, this generation's Enrique Wilson, gets the start at shortstop against Kershaw, thanks to hitting .324 (12-for-37) with a double against him in his career. But that means no Brandon Crawford, who is hitting .435 (10-for-23) with four extra-base hits against the Dodgers this season, and is 17-for-43 (.395) in his last 13 games against them.