Thursday, April 30, 2015

The new lineup is clicking, for one night anyway

If Don Mattingly wanted to give his stagnant offense a jolt, it took all of one swing from Joc Pederson to do just that.

A leadoff homer by Pederson was followed by a towering shot from Adrian Gonzalez, which was then followed by a two-run homer from Andre Ethier in a tremendous first inning.  Jimmy Rollins added a solo blast as well in the third, and the Dodgers easily beat the Giants 7-3.

Knowing that he couldn't just keep watching Rollins create out after out at the top of the order, and with Yasiel Puig on the DL, Donny made the right call in turning over leadoff duties to young Pederson, who now has a sensational .461 OBP after his homer and walk on Wednesday.  I discussed this in my previous post, and it pretty much held true: he'll either hit a homer, walk, or strikeout.  He accomplished all three of these last night.

Of course, it helps that the Dodgers were facing Ryan Vogelsong, who already looks completely washed up.  A 9.31 ERA to start the season is probably not what the Giants were banking on with him.

Anyway, after the Dodgers gave up a run in the first, which seems like it happens every game now, the bats were quick to respond with four runs.  They once again showed their depth, and that was without Puig or Alex Guerrero.  Carl Crawford was out too, but he doesn't do much these days.

I really liked how Scott Van Slyke was not only playing left, but hitting fifth as well against the right-handed Vogelsong.  Donny showed confidence in him, and it paid off with a double, sac-fly RBI, and a walk.  He's hitting .393 with a .471 OBP, so even in limited at-bats, he's showing a tremendous ability to do some damage.

By the way, how many people realize Juan Uribe has an 11-game hitting streak?  Yes, I know... 10 of those games he's gotten one hit, but he has raised his average from .190 to .278 at least.  As long as he hits decently and keeps flashing the leather, he'll stay in the lineup for the majority of starts over Guerrero whether we like it or not.

All in all, Donny needs to keep a similar look to his lineup for the time being.  Guerrero can easily be inserted against lefties, pushing Van Slyke over to right in place of Ethier.  Other than that, let it roll and see what happens.

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