Trea Turner isn’t in the Dodgers lineup on Friday night, though that figures to change over the weekend. But even without the extra piece that completes the Dodgers offense, Cody Bellinger isn’t starting in the series opener against Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval.
“We have a lot of good players. In the near term, I see Cody playing against right-handers,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “We’ve got a lot of good options to play against some lefties, as you see tonight, and you’ll see some of that on Sunday.”
Those options against southpaws include Albert Pujols, who makes his 19th start in 19 games against a left-handed pitcher with the Dodgers. He’s hitting .329/.370/.605 since joining the team, his six home runs against lefties second only to Justin Turner among right-handed Dodgers.
That pushes Max Muncy to second base, and Chris Taylor gets the start in center field, a spot he figures to be playing more often once Turner is activated.
Mookie Betts is back in right field after playing three games at second base. It’s his first time in the outfield since July 17.
Bellinger is not really hitting against either hand this season, with a .572 OPS and 60 wRC+ against right-handers, and .518 OPS with a 53 wRC+ against lefties. A season in which he’s played only 50 of 109 games due to a broken fibula and strained hamstring, and this was after offseason shoulder surgery that sapped most of his power.
“I see continued fight, I see consistent work,” Roberts said. “We’ve just got to continue to keep getting his work in, keep strengthening that shoulder, and then expect good things to happen.”
The Dodgers also face left-hander Reid Detmers on Sunday, making his second major league start. Turner will be active by then, which would give the Dodgers someone hitting .406/.445/.663, a 192 wRC+ against southpaws this season.
“Every single night, there’s going to be a great player that’s not getting the start,” Roberts said. “Where we’re at on the schedule, we have to win baseball games. We’re four games back in the loss column, and we’ve got to win every single night.”