LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers have the same starting eight position players against Jake Arrieta in Game 3 of the NLCS that they have have used against the other five games in which they faced a right-handed starter.
That means Andrew Toles in left field, one of six left-handed batters in the lineup plus switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal at catcher.
"For Arrieta, the effectiveness he has versus right-handed hitters is far more than left-handed hitters,” manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday. “I wanted the approach to try to beat the starter, so we're running some left-handers out there.”
Right-handed batters hit .194/.250/.307 against Arrieta in 2016, compared to .194/.308/.304. The main difference there is the 58-point jump in on-base percentage, thanks in large part to Arrieta’s 13.6% walk rate against lefties, compared to 5.9% against right-handers.
Toles is 4-for-13 (.308) with a double and has twice been hit by a pitch this postseason, sporting a .400 on-base percentage. All but two of his plate appearances have come against right-handed pitchers.
It has meant a reduced role in the playoffs for Howie Kendrick, who started 124 games for the Dodgers during the regular season. Kendrick has started only the two games against left-handed pitchers — Game 3 of the NLDS against Gio Gonzalez, and Game 1 of the NLCS against Jon Lester — but has appeared in three of the other five games that he didn’t start.
"Everyone understands that you can be used at any point and time in the game,” Roberts said. "Howie is ready for any role or situation that I have for him.”
Kendrick so far is 3-for-12 (.250) with a double and a walk (.308 OBP) during the postseason.
The Cubs shook up their lineup a little bit, switching Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo in the batting order, with Zobrist now batting third and Rizzo — 1 for 23 with three walks in the playoffs — now hitting fourth.
In addition, Jason Heyward takes a seat in Game 3 against left-hander Rich Hill. The left-handed Heyward is 2-for-18 this postseason, and 1-for-6 with a triple and one raher important intentional walk in the NLCS. Heyward hit .207/.300/.286 against left-handed pitchers during the regular season.
Jorge Soler gets the start in right field, batting sixth. He hit .267/.345/.467 against southpaws this season.