“Obviously Yoshi hasn’t had a lot of at-bats, but I just feel that with back-to-back nights, and I like this matchup right here,” manager Dave Roberts said. “His swing and approach sort of matches up with [Matt] Peacock, and the way we structured the lineup, there’s a lot of balance and depth throughout.”
Since Cody Bellinger was injured on April 5, the Dodgers had only two players start at cleanup — Max Muncy or Will Smith. But after Corey Seager broke his hand on Saturday night, the lineup calculus changed considerably.
|3B||Escobar (S)||LF||Tsutsugo (L)|
|LF||Peralta (L)||SS||Lux (L)|
Muncy has shifted to either second — where he’s batting tonight — or third, opening up the cleanup spot. Matt Beaty took the reins Sunday and had three hits, Albert Pujols’ first start as a Dodger was batting fourth on Monday and he singled in a run, and Smith had two hits and an RBI in a familiar spot on Tuesday.
Dodgers cleanup hitters, with Muncy and Smith accounting for 36 of the 42 starts entering Wednesday, are hitting .242/.376/.418, a slugging percentage that ranks 18th in the majors from that spot, but an on-base percentage that ranks sixth, and a wRC+ (126) that ranks ninth.
So far the rotation has worked, and coinciding with Muncy remaining hot last week, Dodgers cleanup hitters have a seven-game hitting streak running, with 14 hits in 27 at-bats (.519) and eight RBI.
The Dodgers did in fact push Trevor Bauer to start Friday in San Francisco, which means the next bullpen game will be in Thursday night’s series finale against the Diamondbacks. The first of those pitchers won’t be determined until after seeing which relievers get used on Wednesday night.
“We’re going to talk it out right now, and see how the dust settles tonight,” Roberts said.
The Diamondbacks made a roster move, activating Ketel Marte from the injured list after missing 37 games with a right hamstring strain, though he’s not starting. Old friend Tim Locastro starts in center field, batting second.
Outfielder Nick Heath was optioned to Triple-A Reno.
Teams: Dodgers vs. D-backs
Location: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA