When Justin Turner broke his wrist, the Dodgers were left with a void to fill. The Dodgers enter the 2018 season as the only team replacing their three-hole hitter out of the chutes. But the team isn’t without a plan. According to Bill Plunkett via the OC Register, Cody Bellinger will be used in that spot in the lineup while Turner is out.
Here is what Dave Roberts had to say about the lineup re-shuffle.
Roberts said his “initial thought” is not to break up the Chris Taylor-Corey Seager pairing at the top of the lineup as a way of lengthening the lineup in Turner’s absence. Turner started 231 games as the No. 3 hitter over the past two seasons. Cody Bellinger will likely slide into that spot in the batting order with others – Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, et al. – moving up accordingly.
“That’s going to stay,” Roberts said of Taylor-Seager batting first and second. “I really love Chris at the top of the order. I love his at-bat quality so to know he’s going to get four or five at-bats every night, I like that. He gets on base. He can slug. And I think Corey, to have him at the top of the order or somewhere near to get that extra at-bat, I think we like that as well.
Traditionally, a manager has the thought to split up his lefties in the lineup. When that pair of hitters is Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, there isn’t as much concern to do so. Seager hit .325 against southpaws in 2017. Bellinger hit .271 with 12 home runs, in comparison to .265 against right-handed pitchers. And you may recall the night he did this to a pretty good lefty:
I look at this period as immense opportunity that will set the tone for the Dodgers 2018 season. This is a chance for the young hitters in the lineup to take the baton and run with it. We have to search for reasons to be positive about the absence of a clubhouse leader and lineup catalyst like Turner. If Dodgers can emerge from this period viewed as a dangerous offense, getting Turner back full-strength will be a major shot in the arm.
I think Bellinger is the perfect player for the job. His success as a rookie brought immense confidence, and he’s shown the ability to adjust on the brightest stage. He says he’s still hungry to keep things going and have a better year. I love the idea of the young cornerstone opening the season in the three spot in the lineup. What are your thoughts about the lineup with Turner out?
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