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Max Muncy back in Dodgers lineup, batting 7th and playing third base

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Justin Turner at DH on Saturday vs. Angels

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Max Muncy is back in the lineup after his first day off of the season, and is playing third base for the first time all year in the Dodgers’ middle game against the Angels on Saturday in Anaheim.

Dodgers-Angels lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Angels
Pos Dodgers Pos Angels
RF Betts SS Fletcher
SS Seager (L) 1B La Stella (L)
DH Turner CF Trout
CF Pollock 3B Rendon
1B Bellinger (L) DH Ohtani (L)
LF Taylor LF Ward
3B Muncy (L) RF Goodwin (L)
2B Hernández C Stassi
C Barnes 2B Rengifo (S)
Andrew Heaney vs. Walker Buehler on the mound

Third base isn’t new to Muncy, as he started 56 games at the position in 2018-19 combined. But to begin this season his starts have either come at first base (11 times), second base (seven times), or designated hitter (twice). The start gives Justin Turner, the only Dodger to start every game this season, a night as the DH.

“Knowing [the Angels] are going to have four, potentially five left-handers tonight, a lot of Muncy’s time will be on the other side of the diamond anyway,” Dave Roberts said, referring to the fact that the Dodgers shift a league-high 81.4 percent of the time against left-handed batters, per Baseball Savant.

Muncy also enters hitting just .169/.289/.351, including just 5-for-44 (.114) in August. After batting first or second in the first 13 games of the season, Muncy batted fifth or sixth for the last week, and hits seventh tonight. That’s his lowest spot in the order since April 2, 2019, 147 starts ago.

“I thought yesterday was good for his mind. To get him back in there tonight, I feel really good about it,” Roberts said. “I think Max is a lot closer than most people think he is.”

Saturday’s Angels starter Andrew Heaney was a Dodger in the briefest sense of the term, acquired from the Marlins and simultaneously traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick during LA’s winter meetings flourish in 2014.

Kiké Hernandez and Austin Barnes, who came to Los Angeles with Heaney from the Marlins in that trade, both start for the Dodgers on Saturday. Hernandez is 1-for-7 with a walk against Heaney, and Barnes, starting at catcher for the third straight game, is 1-for-6.

Game info

Time: 6:40 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA, Fox Sports West (Angels broadcast), MLB Network (out of market only)