2014 NLDS Preview: Breaking Down The Bench, Coaching & More

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The Cardinals bench is young, depending on how Matheny decides to play things. A.J. Pierzynski is a solid backup, but may not get any playing time. Kolten Wong and Mark Ellis will either start at second or sit on the bench. Ellis is a veteran player that has postseason experience, while Wong has more talent but less experience. In the outfield, Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras may find themselves in the starting lineup, but could be big participants off the bench. Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos both provide speed if they aren’t in the starting lineup. Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma each can provide timely hitting and versatility in the field.

After heading into the postseason with the bench being their weak spot last year, the Dodgers may head into this postseason with the bench as a strength. The backups are led by Justin Turner, who enjoyed the best season of his career. Turner hit .340 with 43 RBIs in 109 games this year. As a pinch-hitter, he hit .400 with 10 RBIs. In the outfield, the Dodgers will have Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke. Both bring power to the plate, while Ethier adds versatility to the defense. Drew Butera is a decent backup to a struggling A.J. Ellis. It is still unclear who else the Dodgers will take in the infield, but a combination of Miguel Rojas, Erisbel Arruebarrena, Darwin Barney and Alex Guerrero will be used. Rojas and Barney are the most likely and provide stellar defense, but not much at the plate.

Advantage: Dodgers (The Dodgers have experience, versatility and power off the bench, while the Cardinals mix and match style leaves their bench vulnerable.)

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