Zach Lee is back on the mound today for the Los Angeles Dodgers as they attempt to right the ship after yesterday’s Cactus League loss. They’ll be taking on the Colorado Rockies. That wasn’t the only piece of news to come out for this game, though.
According to the lineup released by the team for the game, it looks like veteran outfielder Andre Ethier will be leading off for Los Angeles. In other words, Ethier is going to be doing something in this game that he has not done at any point during his career — be the leadoff hitter for a team.
From the Los Angeles Dodgers’ official twitter account:
Today's Dodger lineup:
Van Slyke 1B
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 16, 2016
As you can see, Ethier is firmly in there at the leadoff spot. He’s 8-for-19 this spring with a home run, four runs batted in, and three walks. He’s been good at the plate, and that’s something that is definitely refreshing to see. Using him as the leadoff hitter is an interesting wrinkle.
Batting second and acting as the designated hitter will be Howie Kendrick. He’s only 1-for-6 this spring, but he will be the Opening Day second baseman for the Dodgers, and that’s the way it should be. The main thing for Kendrick right now is to get fully healthy for the season.
Speaking of getting fully healthy for the season, Justin Turner is manning the hot corner and batting third. He’s only appeared in one game, but he did go 1-for-1 with a walk and two runs scored. He looked great at the plate, great in the field, and said he felt great overall. All are awesome signs.
Chase Utley is playing second and batting fourth. He’s 6-for-21 with four strikeouts, but he’s been hustling his tail off whenever he hits a ball and it appears to be a routine out. If there’s one thing Utley does, it’s hustle. That’s a veteran leadership quality that will help the team.
In right field and batting fifth will be Yasiel Puig. The talented outfielder is just 4-for-17 with four strikeouts right now, but he’s showcased the ability to hit the ball hard. He’s getting a tad unlucky on some of them, but that’s the way the game goes. Puig looks in amazing shape.
Yasmani Grandal is behind the plate and batting sixth. Grandal has appeared in only four games, and he’s 3-for-9 with two doubles. He’s going to be the team’s primary catcher, so getting him back healthy and ready to go is a big deal despite whatever guys like Austin Barnes and A.J. Ellis have been doing.
Scott Van Slyke will be playing first base and batting seventh today. Van Slyke has three home runs this spring, and he’s also 10-for-24 overall. Among players with at least 10 at-bats, Van Slyke leads the team in OPS in Spring Training. He’s been a monster at the plate, and the team needs that punch.
Batting eighth and playing center field is Joc Pederson. He’s had his struggles, but he’s 7-for-22 at the plate with a home run and a double. He’s also walked twice and stolen a base. The downside is that 9 of his 15 outs have been strikeouts. That’s still an issue for him, but one he is working on.
Elian Herrera is batting ninth and playing shortstop. Herrera is 6-for-20 with a home run and three runs batted in so far. He’s been a nice little addition to the squad, and he will probably start the year at Triple-A with the possibility of a call-up, or even as a utility guy with the big club.
As noted earlier, Zach Lee is on the mound today. In his 5 innings of work so far, he’s given up three earned runs on four hits and a walk. He has fanned three batters, though. The fifth spot in the rotation right now appears to be coming down to him, Mike Bolsinger, and Julio Urias.
No word on who the other pitchers today will be.