The Dodgers have never opened a season at Coors Field before, let alone a four-game series. Normally such a trip wreaks havoc on a pitching staff, but Dave Roberts is making sure his position players aren’t overused, either.
Mookie Betts and Justin Turner are out of the lineup on Saturday, with Chris Taylor subbing in right field and batting third, and Edwin Ríos playing third base.
“We’ve got seven [games] in a row,” Roberts said, referring to the Dodgers ensuing series in Oakland. “I just felt that this was a good day to get them an off day and get them back in there for a day game tomorrow.”
|2B||Lux (L)||LF||Tapia (L)|
|CF||Bellinger (L)||RF||Blackmon (L)|
With Betts out of the leadoff spot, Gavin Lux bats first on Saturday after four hits in the first two games, including a triple.
“I think it’s individually great for Gavin to get off to a good start. He’s playing great defense, and taking good at-bats,” Roberts said. “This is a guy that hangs in there against lefties, and can hit the ball to all fields, which lends itself to being able to play every day.”
Every day isn’t technically true, but it just means Lux, like others, will play most days. But there will be days where he gets his days off, like AJ Pollock did Thursday, Chris Taylor did on Friday, like Betts and Turner Saturday, and like Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger won’t start in Sunday afternoon’s series finale.
Roberts also said he planned out the catching assignments for the first seven games. Austin Barnes, who caught Clayton Kershaw on opening day, starts Saturday with Walker Buehler on the mound and will catch Kershaw again Tuesday in Oakland, while Will Smith will catch Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. Roberts said he could reevaluate after Wednesday’s off day.
Though this is aided by the technicality of Bellinger’s hit over the fence on Thursday not counting as a home run, the Dodgers have not been credited with a home run in each of their last three games at Coors Field, dating back to last September. They’ve only had three longer homerless streaks at Coors — seven games in 2009, and two four-game streaks in 2003 and 2005.