The Dodgers face another left-hander in Jose Quintana in Game 5 of the NLCS, and have their usual lineup against southpaws on Thursday night at Wrigley Field, with one noticeable difference — Yasiel Puig has moved up in the batting order.
After batting eighth, seventh and seventh in the Dodgers’ first three postseason games against left-handers, Puig bats cleanup in Game 5.
Puig hit just .183/.317/.275 against left-handed pitchers during the regular season, a departure from his career norm of .260/.358/.431, compared to .289/.357/.491 against right-handed pitchers.
“Last year we were platooning him against lefties, and now he's a reverse guy and hitting righties considerably better. It's something that certainly I don't expect to continue and we're betting it evens out a little bit more,” manager Dave Roberts said during the NLDS. “I’m betting there are some hits left against lefties. In the last month I think he's been better as far as quality of contact.”
Puig in September against left-handers was 7-for-25 with two doubles, a home run and three walks, hitting .280/.357/.480.
Game 5 lineups
During the postseason, Puig is 4-for-6 with a home run, a double and three walks against southpaws, including 1-for-2 with a double against Quintana in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Justin Turner homered and reached base four times in Game 4, and has been on fire this postseason. Turner is 11-for-26 with three home runs, hitting .423/.545/.769, leading the majors this postseason in on-base percentage and RBI (11).
The record for RBI in one postseason by the Dodgers is 13, set in 1977 by Dusty Baker, who also holds the club record with eight RBI in the NLCS. Turner has driven in six runs against the Cubs in this series, going 5-for-13 (.385) with five walks.
Turner in the regular season hit .380/.477/.704 with 11 home runs against left-handed pitchers. In the playoffs he is 2-for-7 with a walk and a hit by pitch, and was 0-for-2 against Quintana in Game 1.
The Cubs made a change from their Game 1 lineup against Clayton Kershaw, starting Ben Zobrist in right field, batting eighth. Albert Almora Jr., who batted fifth in the first game and homered against Kershaw, bats leadoff on Thursday, with Jon Jay getting a rest in Game 5.