The Dodgers love the versatility of Chris Taylor and starting him in the infield occasionally has always been there as a possibility. But when Taylor gets that rare start, the reason doesn’t involve their center fielder getting reps.
Saturday’s reason has to do with getting both Joc Pederson and Matt Kemp in the lineup.
“I think it was more driven by getting Joc in there, trying to get him going a little bit, said manager Dave Roberts. “Knowing we’ve got some lefties coming up and just to give him back-to-back days.”
Los Angeles is scheduled to face left-handed starters on Monday and Tuesday when the Marlins come to town
“(Joc) is a big part of what we’re trying to do and the way that Matt has played early on, he’s earned those opportunities. I still want to be mindful of Joc to stay encouraged because we’re going to need him.”
|RF||Harper (L)||C||Grandal (S)|
|3B||Difo (S)||3B||Muncy (L)|
Pederson has struggled to put hits together over the first three weeks of the season, hitting just .176 with two extra-base hits (both doubles). The club still feels their young outfielder is having good at-bats despite the results.
“I think the at-bat quality has been good, I really do,” Roberts said. “As far as finishing off an at-bat, it’s probably a question and it’s tougher when you’re not playing all the time. He’s seen a lot of pitches and is taking walks when he needs to.”
Pederson has walked in six of his 40 plate appearances with four strikeouts.
The team wants to see a more consistent end to Pederson’s at-bats, turning those pitches he is fouling off or swinging through into production.
Pederson turned 26 Saturday and for whatever it’s worth is 5-for-11 on his birthday in his career.
The Dodgers have yet to announce a starter for Monday’s game but Brock Stewart and Walker Buehler remain the most likely choices for Monday’s opener against the Marlins.
Roberts said that a bullpen game was eliminated as an option.