If you're really into studying Don Mattingly's lineup against Team Australia, then perhaps the leadoff hitter for Saturday is someone we didn't exactly think of.
Dee Gordon led off and played second base today, not Yasiel Puig, who hit right behind him. Throw in the fact that Carl Crawford didn't even make the trip, and as unlikely as this was amid all the hoopla of the Alex Guerrero signing, Gordon could very well be the man at the top of the order.
I wrote about Gordon's resurgence about a week ago (here's my proof), and I speculated that he'd hit eighth. At least for today's exhibition game, Mattingly likes the idea of Gordon and Puig at the top, followed by Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Juan Uribe, Scott Van Slyke, and A.J. Ellis. Since the left-handed Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks has been scratched because of a possible season-ending elbow injury, two right-handed pitchers will start in Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill. It's not hard to see today's lineup carrying over to the weekend.
And you know what? Why not? I'm all for Gordon getting a chance at the top. He hit .286 this spring with a .326 OBP. Of his 12 hits, four were triples, and he was a perfect 9-9 in stolen base attempts. I'm pretty sure that's the type of guy who's earned a chance at leading off.
Keep in mind that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks play two games, so if Gordon stinks in the first game by going 0-for-5, then Mattingly can easily put Puig leading off and drop Gordon to second or eighth. It's obviously way early in the season (duh), so it's time to see if Gordon can handle the load.
On the flip side, what does this mean for Guerrero? Well, he could sneak in as the last roster spot, or it could be off to Triple-A to start everyday at second and sharpen his defense as he's still trying to transition from a year off and as a primary shortstop. That's not a bad thing, as it could very well pay off for him in the future.