The Dodgers starting lineup in their final game of their three-game series against the Rockies is the byproduct of a 16-inning marathon on Monday night, coupled with a large divisional lead. But most importantly, the lineup is fine art.
"The lineup could look different tomorrow," manager Don Mattingly said after Tuesday night's loss.
He wasn't kidding.
For starters, Austin Barnes bats leadoff, which is perfectly fine since he posted a .389 on-base percentage in Triple-A Oklahoma City, and has a .375 OBP in his 25 major league plate appearances. But he starts at second base, not catcher.
Barnes has played infield in the past, with 150 minor league games at second base, including 30 games in 2014 in the Marlins' system. Barnes on Sept. 11 played three innings at third base, where he also played 16 minor league games in the Miami system. But this season in Oklahoma City, the Dodgers wanted Barnes to exclusively catch, outside of a couple starts at designated hitter.
This is his first major league start at second base.
He is the first Dodger to start at second base and catcher in the same season since Derrel Thomas in 1980. The only other Dodgers to do so, dating back to at least 1914, are Ted Sizemore (1976), Mickey Owen (1944) and Al Lopez (1933 and 1934).
Chase Utley, for now the regular second baseman, starts at first base, his first start at the position since joining the Dodgers. He started three times at first base this year with the Phillies, and 28 times in his career.
Justin Ruggiano, with his career .369 wOBA and 135 wRC+ against left-handed pitchers (.428 and 180 in 63 plate appearances this season), bats third for the 11th time in his career, and the first time since April 9, 2014 with the Cubs.
Corey Seager bats cleanup for the first of many times in his career, his 10th straight start, including nine straight at shortstop. Seager has reached base by hit or walk in all 11 of his starts, and has reached base at least twice in eight of his 11 starts, contributing to his .528 on-base percentage.
A.J. Ellis bats fifth for a second straight night, after catching the first seven innings of Tuesday's game.
Alex Guerrero gets the start at third base, his 14th of the season at the hot corner, but his first start at the position since Aug. 8, 35 games ago. It is the first start in the field at any position for Guerrero since Aug. 10, when he started in left field. His only three starts in the last 32 games came at designated hitter.
Chris Heisey gets another start in right field, which suggests that Scott Van Slyke is still bothered by the small cyst on his right hand. Van Slyke was going to pinch hit on Tuesday, but was burned with a pitching change, so perhaps the hand bothers him more in the field than while batting.
This is the most special lineup of the season to date. Enjoy it.