For the first time this season, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly might have found some stability in what has been a messy outfield situation.
With trade rumors involving Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford as of late, Mattingly has gone with a set outfield that includes both of those outfielders as starters.
During the three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers went with Matt Kemp in right, Yasiel Puig in center and Carl Crawford in left. The trio played well together and the same group earned another start Tuesday.
Under the new alignment, playing time for Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke has virtually been nonexistent. Mattingly addressed when he’ll insert Van Slyke into the starting lineup, via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
Scott’s going to play against lefties,” Mattingly said. “You can pretty much count on that. If there’s a lefty out there, you’re going to see him in the lineup somewhere.”
Van Slyke has played all three outfield positions, as well as some first base this season. Prior to Puig being moved to center, Van Slyke would spell Ethier in center when he was in need of a day off or the Dodgers were facing a left-handed pitcher.
As for Ethier, Mattingly said that he will play any of the outfield positions. However, Mattingly has liked him off the bench and added he doesn’t anticipate any issues from the outfielders:
I think Andre’s been good coming off the bench,” Mattingly said. “At this point, you’re not going to get in the way of what the team’s trying to accomplish,” Mattingly said.
With a stable outfield, the Dodgers can begin focusing on the stretch run of the season and try to avoid distractions from trade rumors and concerns of playing time.
However, more changes may be required if the Dodgers trade away one of the outfielders — with Crawford and Kemp appearing to be the most likely candidates.
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