Since the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the National League, they bat only eight position players and a pitcher.
This season, the Dodgers have a logjam in the outfield with four, maybe five, potential starting outfielders for three positions. It would appear that the team is better suited for a designated hitter role this season.
According to Ken Gurnick and Michael Lananna of MLB.com, manager Don Mattingly tends to agree with that sentiment:
I think we’re better equipped for it now than we were in the past,” Mattingly said. “A couple of years ago, we came here with the DH, and it was like, ‘Really?’ It didn’t really help us much.
The Dodgers have not had the depth in their lineup that they had in recent years, with everyone healthy at the moment. On Wednesday’s game, Mattingly was able to use all four outfielders in the starting lineup.
He discussed what the DH spot offered for the team’s first game in Anaheim:
It allows us to get to be able to get Andre and Carl in there,” he said. “We wanted to get as much offense as we could, and it gives me a chance to really give Matt a day, a day off his feet, keep him in the lineup, the way he’s swinging the bat.”
The move seemed to work as Kemp hit a home run in the second inning, and Crawford and Ethier had two hits apiece. Behind their outfielders, the Dodgers won a nail-biter to guarantee at least a split with their American League neighbor.
With title aspirations, the Dodgers will need to have a strong lineup with the DH because the AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series. Mattingly and the team will be ready for it, assuming everyone remains healthy heading into October.
Dodgers Outfielder Andre Ethier Surprises Middle School Students