LOS ANGELES — Facing right-hander Taijuan Walker in Game 1 of the NLDS, the Dodgers have their usual lineup against righties on Friday night, with one slight exception. Logan Forsythe starts at second base in the opener.
Forsythe hit just .190/.315/.262 against right-handed pitching this season, and split time at second base with Chase Utley, who hit .242/.327/.407 against righties in 2017.
But the Dodgers have judicious in giving rest to the 38-year-old Utley rather than have a straight platoon at second base. In September, Utley started 15 games at the position and Forsythe started 13 times, including eight times against right-handed pitchers. Forsythe also started five times at third base in the final month, and once at shortstop.
“Part of it is there is a tick better defense from Logan, and we have our ace on the mound,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s also a benefit for him to start a game, to get into the flow of the postseason, as opposed to coming off the bench and taking his first postseason at-bat off the bench.”
Game 1 lineups
|SS||Marte (S)||C||Grandal (S)|
Jake Lamb isn’t in the Game 1 lineup for the Diamondbacks. He has never started against Clayton Kershaw in his career. Adam Rosales gets the call at third base on Friday, but Lambe will be someone to watch in this series.
Lamb is a career .159/.256/.301 hitter against left-handed pitchers, including .144/.269/.288 with five home runs in 156 plate appearances this season. But against Dodgers southpaws in 2017, the lefty-batting Lamb is 7-for-27 with three home runs, a double, and five walks, hitting .259/.375/.630.
Lamb was 4-for-5 in Arizona’s win on Wednesday in the NL wild card game, including a single against left-hander Tyler Anderson.
“You’re walking off a game where you get four hits and you’re right in the middle of everything – versus lefties and righties, it just didn't matter,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic on Thursday. “(He’s) one of our main performers and offensive catalysts all year long, so I’ve got to figure some things out.”
Arizona went with 14 position players and 11 pitchers on their NLDS roster. After carrying three catchers in the wild card game, the Diamondbacks have two catchers for this series, with Chris Herrmann inactive.
The biggest surprise addition might be first baseman Christian Walker, a right-handed bat off the bench for Arizona. The 26-year-old hit .309/.382/.597 with 32 home runs in Triple-A Reno. Walker had just 15 plate appearances in the majors this year, going 3-for-12 with two home runs, a walk and two hit by pitches in September.
Walker was drafted by the Dodgers in the 49th round in 2009 out of high school, but he did not sign, choosing instead to play college baseball at South Carolina.