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Dodgers have their most regular lineup in years

MLB: MAY 12 Phillies at Dodgers Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the defining characteristics of the first quarter of the 2022 Dodgers’ season is how regular the lineup is. Sunday is the 40th game of the season, and the usual nine regulars have accounted for 90.3 percent of starts.

Good health has been abundant, a stark contrast from 2021. By this time last year, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and AJ Pollock were sidelined, and Mookie Betts was dealing with a litany of nagging injuries that hampered his play.

Betts starts his 38th game on Sunday, in his customary leadoff spot in the series finale against the Phillies. He enters as the major league leader with 38 runs scored, and with 10 extra-base in his last nine games, including a home run and a double in Saturday’s win.

Dodgers-Phillies lineups

Pos Dodgers Pos Phillies
Pos Dodgers Pos Phillies
RF Betts 1B Hoskins
1B Freeman (L) 3B Bohm
SS Turner DH Harper (L)
DH Ríos (L) RF Castellanos
2B Muncy (L) LF Schwarber (L)
3B Turner 2B Segura
CF Bellinger (L) CF Herrera (L)
LF Lux (L) C Stubbs (L)
C Barnes SS Stott (L)

Bellinger starts his 39th game on Sunday. He didn’t make his 39th start last year until July 23. Justin Turner is in the lineup for a 37th time in 40 games. Max Muncy makes his 36th start. Gavin Lux is starting for the 32nd time. Chris Taylor sits on Sunday, but he’s started 36 times.

Both Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner have yet to miss a start, starting not only every game to date but also never once playing as designated hitter. Outside of exiting a small handful of blowouts late, those two have played just about every inning in the field at first base and shortstop, respectively.

The Dodgers new what they were getting when they signed Freeman, who since the start of 2018 has only missed seven games. Only Whit Merrifield has played in more games during that time.

Freeman and Turner are the first two Dodgers to start the first 40 games in a season since Andre Ethier, who was in the lineup for each of the first 43 games in 2012.

During the time Andrew Friedman has been president of baseball operations, which dates back to 2015, depth has been the Dodgers’ calling card, which usually meant platoons at at least one position, and usually several.

Only five Dodgers in that time have started 140 games in a season, with just one starting 150 games:

  • Adrián González (2015): 148 starts
  • Corey Seager (2016): 149 starts
  • Adrián González (2016): 148 starts
  • Justin Turner (2016): 140 starts
  • Cody Bellinger (2019): 151 starts

So far this year, the Dodgers have had their most regular lineup in the Friedman and Dave Roberts era. The lineup is mostly a group that won’t be hit for very often; the Dodgers rank 25th out of 30 teams with fifteen pinch-hit plate appearances this season.

That’s led to the Dodgers’ most regular lineup in years.

Good health has led to production, with the Dodgers not only leading the majors in runs scored, but averaging nearly half a run more per game (5.49 runs/game) than the next-best team (San Francisco, 5.05 runs/game).

Game info

  • Teams: Dodgers (27-12) vs. Phillies (18-22)
  • Pitchers: Tony Gonsolin vs. Zack Eflin
  • Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
  • Time: 10:35 a.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of network).