With the Los Angeles Dodgers facing left-hander James Paxton in the first of their three-game series against the Seattle Mariners, manager Don Mattingly inserted right-handed bats into the lineup where possible.
Scott Van Slyke was among those changes as he replaced Carl Crawford in left field. On top of being able to playing all three outfield positions and first base last season, Van Slyke earned his calling as a lethal bat against lefties.
In 116 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers over 52 games, Van Slyke hit .315/.415/.630 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs. His success at the plate makes it easy to overlook his contributions defensively.
Not the most dynamic athlete or highly-rated outfielder, Van Slyke is sound with the glove and rarely out of position. In the first inning of Monday’s game, he mad a running catch over his left shoulder to rob Seth Smith of a likely extra-base hit.
Then in the second inning, Logan Morrison led off with a single down the left field line that Van Slyke tracked down in foul territory, regained his balance, and unleashed a laser to cut down Morrison’s attempt at to stretch a single into a double for his first outfield assist of the season.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 14, 2015