Joc Pederson is back in the Dodgers lineup, starting at designated hitter on Tuesday night, batting seventh against the A’s after missing five games on the family emergency medical leave list.
How long he remains with the team remains to be seen. Out of respect to Pederson’s privacy, Roberts did not divulge why Pederson missed time, and couldn’t commit to how long he would stay.
“Family first, and Joc knows that,” manager Dave Roberts said on a conference call. “I just know Joc worked real hard to be here with us to finish up this homestand. I would expect him to be with us through the wildcard series, but after that I just don’t know.”
|DH||La Stella (L)||RF||Betts|
|LF||Grossman (S)||SS||Seager (L)|
|1B||Olson (L)||CF||Bellinger (L)|
It’s been a bad season for Pederson, hitting .174/.268/.376 with six home runs in 38 games and 124 plate appearances, including two hits in his last 31 at-bats dating back to August 28. Pederson, who got at-bats at the alternate training site at USC over the weekend while the Dodgers were on the road, is expected to start against the four right-handed starting pitchers the Dodgers will face this week (lefties Sean Manaea and Andrew Heaney is slated for Wednesday and Friday), his usual role.
“It hasn’t been the season that he expected, or we expected out of him,” Roberts said. “But for us, to get him locked in for the postseason is the most important thing right now.”
Justin Turner was originally in Tuesday’s lineup at third base, after starting at designated hitter in his first five games back from a left hamstring strain, but he was a late scratch with left hamstring discomfort. Edwin Ríos starts at third base instead.
Before the lineup change, Roberts said he didn’t want to push Turner.
“I don’t know how much we’re gonna extend him on the defensive side today,” Roberts said. “Whether it’s three at bats, five or six innings, something like that, I don’t really see him playing all night.”
Roberts also said earlier that Turner was slated to start at third base on Wednesday as well, but that was before Tuesday’s lineup change.
Playoff lineup preview?
Outside of Pederson and occasionally Kiké Hernandez, the Dodgers haven’t platooned all that much this year. To that end, with right-hander Frankie Montas starting for the A’s, right-handers A.J. Pollock (in left field) and Chris Taylor (at second base) are in the starting lineup.
This isn’t too much of a surprise, since it’s Taylor’s 30th start and Pollock’s 29th start in 40 games against right-handed pitchers this season. Both have been among the Dodgers’ best hitters.
“I think right now with what Chris Taylor has done this year, and what he’s done in years past, playing against left and right seems to give us the best chance,” Roberts said. “And obviously AJ, his at-bats this year against both have been very good. Things can always change, but I like the balance in our lineup.”