Now that Matt Kemp is healthy and Yasiel Puig will presumably be arriving to the stadium on time for now on, Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers are forced to address the four-outfielder situation. Between Kemp, Puig, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, the Dodgers seem to be in a tough situation in deciding who will be the odd man out, but the team is showing that maybe managing four high-caliber outfielders is not as difficult as it may seem.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Mattingly has expressed having an abundance of outfielders is not as complicated is it may seem, and he will be utilizing the surplus to make the Dodgers lineup as advantageous as possible:
If Saturday’s lineup is any indication, it seems that he may even be managing five outfielders instead of four at times in order to create the best match ups possible. As the Dodgers faced off against tough left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the Dodger manager benched both Ethier and Crawford and righty Scott Van Slyke was assigned to left field.
Not only did Mattingly go into Saturday’s game with one of the strongest benches around, he also made it so Bumgarner would face only one left-handed batter in Adrian Gonzalez. Statistically, stacking the team’s right-handed batters against an impressive Bumgarner makes sense.
Ethier understands how Mattingly is running the show and is focused on doing whatever is best for the team via Hernandez:
“I’m in the lineup, I’m not in the lineup, I’m ready every day no matter what they ask me to do every day,” Ethier said.
Crawford has expressed a similar team-first attitude in regards to potentially being the odd-outfielder out, and although Kemp also understands the situation, he admits that it’s frustrating to watch his team struggle from the bench when he knows he can be a difference maker. With righty Matt Cain on the mound in Sunday’s game, Ethier and Crawford will most likely be back in the lineup and this begs the question of which outfielder Mattingly will sit tonight.
Dodgers update: Matt Kemp ready to play, Puig gets advice from Cano and Pujols