The remarkable rise of Andrew Toles not only landed him a spot on the Dodgers’ National League Division Series roster, but got the rookie a start in left field against the Nationals in Game 1 on Friday afternoon at Nationals Park.
Manager Dave Roberts in his press conference on Thursday before the Dodgers’ workout didn’t reveal his full Game 1 lineup other than Toles.
"Tomorrow, I don't know the exact way we're going to construct the lineup. It's going to look a lot like we've done it," Roberts said. "Where [Toles] hits in the order, I haven't decided yet."
Toles, 24, started his season in Class-A Rancho Cucamonga but was up with the Dodgers by July, and hit .314/.365/.505 in 48 games and 115 plate appearances in the majors.
The left-handed Toles started 10 of the Dodgers’ final 15 regular season games against right-handed pitchers. Though he did slump over the final month, hitting .213/.229/.277 in all of 48 PA.
In his press conference on Thursday, Kershaw was asked about Toles but didn’t realize until that question that Toles was starting.
"Is he starting? That’s awesome," Kershaw said. "Tolesy is great."
At 24 years, 136 days old, Toles will be the third-youngest starting left fielder in Dodgers postseason history, trailing only Todd Hollandsworth (23 in his three starts in the 1996 NLDS) and Kiké Hernandez (two starts in the 2015 NLDS).
Roberts was asked about Yasiel Puig as well, and said he would start against left-hander Gio Gonzalez, but didn’t commit beyond that.
"We have a lot of guys that feel they should be everyday players and should be playing every inning of every game; and that's a good thing," Roberts said. "But Yasiel is resigned to the fact that he's ready when he's called upon. He will get that start against Gio.
"You know, with post-season baseball, there's going to be match-ups that I'm going to be playing, and so guys that don't start games will certainly have a huge impact on the game at some point."
Since returning from the minors in September, Puig started all 12 games against left-handed pitching, but only started once in 17 games against right-handed pitchers. But even in the 16 games he didn’t start, Puig found his way into 10 of those games, totaling 13 plate appearances.