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Dodgers: Gavin Lux May Have Missed His Shot to Prove Himself in the Outfield

At least for the Wild Card game.



When we first saw Gavin Lux playing left field for the Dodgers, it certainly seemed like a head-scratcher. At the time, it hardly seemed worth the defensively liability to get his bat in the lineup. He had hit just .221 over 85 games in the first 5 months of the season. 

Then he started hitting.

After his return from a brief minor league hiatus, the infielder-turned-outfielder hit .367 over 16 starts, providing a much-needed spark that helped a stagnant lineup take off and get hot down the stretch. 

Of course, Lux’s outfield play wasn’t without its hiccups. Mixed in among the routine plays and peppering of spectacular plays were the mishaps and plays that caused injuries. One a fractured rib for teammate Cody Bellinger, and one neck stinger for Lux himself.

So on the eve of the all-important wild card game, Dodger manager Dave Roberts was asked about where Gavin fits into the plans and whether he was willing to again put him in the outfield on Wednesday night?

I’m considering it. … but the truth of the matter is, he hasn’t played a whole lot of outfield. And I do think that the incident in left center field took some innings away as far as giving him more chances out there. … I’m certainly considering it. Whether it’s a start, whether it’s to fill in, it’s a possibility. Having his bat available in a spot makes sense to me also. So yeah, Gavin’s in the mix to be in centerfield if I want to put Cody [Bellinger] at first base.

Later he did note that with Max Scherzer being a fly ball pitcher, outfield defense would be a factor in his eventual lineup decision. With that, it makes it harder to imagine Gavin in the outfield, at least in a starting role for an elimination game.

Related: Max Scherzer Shares Thoughts on Wild Card Game and Postseason Setup

After the injury to Max Muncy on Sunday, the lineup postseason lineup quickly became more clouded. Cody Bellinger could take over at first base for Muncy, but he too has struggled to hit all season long. Matt Beaty hardly even exists in the mind of Dave Roberts, and Albert Pujols absolutely should not start against the right-handed Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. 

Gavin Lux gives the Dodgers their deepest lineup in terms of offensive production at the moment, but if the numbers say Max Scherzer gets more fly balls, it may not be prudent to have him in center. Particularly if he might be possibly more tentative after running into the wall a week ago. The next best center field option behind Bellinger is utility man Chris Taylor. But CT3 has just 7 hits in his last 58 at-bats (.121) in September.

NEXT: Trea Turner is Not Scared of a Do-or-Die Wild Card Game

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Roberts the Clown looks for any excuse for inserting his lover Bellidud into the lineup. Bellidud has no businees being on the post season roster and Roberts the Clown has no business being a major league manager — he’s a clown act for the circus.

    • Mqarep, please get a clue. Go look up baseball winning percentage by managers and tell me who’s at the top of the list! It’s Dave Roberts with a .622 win percentage tyvm! You can second guess decisions forever but you can’t argue against the record. End of discussion.

      • Agreed. It’s comical that there’s people who have likely never coached or played above little league level that think they understand the game better than an entire staff of professional athletes and sabermetric nerds.

    • Agree with you that Roberts is a Clown! In Spite of his good record, only one WS Championship has been delivered (that one in a shortened season). The team’s winning record is due more to the talent of the team rather than a manager who can’t even set a working lineup. They Win in Spite of him. Now to Bellinger, he is not a Robert’s favorite. It was him who sank him on National TV. He wrongly admonished him for lack of hustle. He stumbled out of the box and wound up with a double. Roberts believe it should have been a triple. He benched him in the middle of the game and later criticized him in the Press. Hasn’t been the same since!! Bellinger deserves to be on the Roster in spite of his struggles. He’s a sleeping GIANT who can wake up anytime!!

      • If bellinger hasn’t woken up by now he never will at least this season he needs to be scratched from the lineup he is just a burden I don’t see him turning it around at least this season he doesn’t need to play the rest of the way

    • The clown is you, you probably think if you managed the Dodgers they’d win 162 games and the world series every year.

      • I don’t. But if an experienced coach that knows what he’s doing, like Mike Scioscia, the Dodgers would/will have a better record, with no bonehead decisions….

        • LOL, not a single team in baseball will hire Scioscia, because he has zero chance to compete in todays game, which has long passed him by.

          • Jackson, that is a very good point! The game most definitely is different today and requires a different skill set to navigate. Gone are the days of starting pitchers throwing over 300 innings in a year. Winning 20 games is such a rare feat that it hasn’t been done in 5 years. 30 years ago it a quite commonplace.

  2. This is more than a bit misleading. Yes, the Dodgers will probably not start Lux in the outfield for the wild card game, but going forward – if they get past St Louis – he will likely play there at least part time. The other options are just not hitting. And next year, they will begin to work him out there more often as he is not showing himself to be a complete liability. Unless, of course, Seager goes elsewhere. Then he will be back at second. This story makes it sound like the Lux outfield experiment is turning out like the ill-fated attempt to turn Joc Pedersen into a first baseman. It is not.

  3. The ball resulting in Luz’s wall crash would almost certainly have been caught by Beli or CT, but the odds of that happening again (slim) vs. the odds of Luz out-hitting the other two (almost certain) make this look like a no-brainer to me. Maybe, however, DR’s “favoritism” is in fact a legit expectation that veterans are more likely to rise to the big occasion than guys like Luz & Beaty. That’s hardly “analytics,” but I want to give DR the benefit of the doubt. He managed to 106 wins with an unusual number of injuries.

  4. Actually, I see Lux as the new Kike Hernandez. He can play 2B, SS, and OF. With Seager wanting to play for his childhood team (Yankees), I’m looking for Arenado wanting to do the same, and opt out after losing tonight to his boyhood team and signing with the Dodgers.

    The question is, with T Turner at SS, will Lux be the 2B, or does Busch take that spot in spring? That is where the super-utility Lux comes in. I do not think they’ll pay Taylor starter money to be that guy. Lux is under team control through 2026 and only costs $580,000.

  5. For this wild card game it appears that either Bellinger or Beaty will be at 1st, thus putting CT3 in CF. Or the other scenario is Bellinger in CF leaving Beaty or Pujols at 1st. But Albert no longer is much of a threat against RHP and should he hit a ground ball it’s a sure DP if there’s a runner at 1st. No matter what Muncy will be missed but IIWI.

  6. Forget Lux, he’s obviously not going to start… but who do you go with, Beaty or Taylor? Bellinger is playing either 1st or center, that’s a given, but who after that? I think w/ Taylor’s struggles lately I’d go with Beaty at first and Belli in center.

    Another thing to consider is Wainwright is a sinker ball pitcher, so hopefully Puljos is not a consideration. He can hit slow heat, but he’s not good low in the zone.

    • John, very well put. While the sentimentalist in me would love to see Albert vs his old mates, my more pragmatic self will say Beaty at 1st and Belli (with his terrible ave but gold glove) in CF. Who knows, Belli was cold going into the post season last year too and hit the winning HR in gm 7 vs the Braves.

        • Paul, have to say that one really shocked me. Perhaps simply a ruse? I seriously doubt he would be a consideration. I’m pretty certain we see Beaty at 1st and Belli in CF.

      • In addition, Jocotober Pederson never hit for average during the season either. For that matter, Austin Barnes had huge hits in the post season last year. The post season is a completely different ballgame than the regular season and always produces unlikely heroes. Can’t wait to see what unfolds this year.

    • Ok, Doc, listen up. Start Beaty at !st, Belli in CF. Move Pollock up in the batting order as such:

      Turner T
      Pollock
      Seager
      Betts
      Turner J
      Beaty
      Smith
      Bellinger
      Scherzer

      You’re welcome, if you win stand by for more info from your alter ego.

      • Hyderman, while I think you are spot on by position, your order is off.

        Betts
        Seager
        TTurner
        JTurner
        Pollock
        Smith
        Beaty
        Bellinger
        Scherzer

        Done. I do believe this the mostly likely scenario

  7. I hope Dodgers watched how the Red Sox and their offensive approach against the Yankees. They didn’t have that all or nothing swing approach that the Yankees had and that is what sent the Yankees home. In other words, situational hitting and not striking out is the key for Dodgers in this do or die game.

    • Absolutely! Especially with two outs and two strikes: choke up and put the ball in play!

  8. Put Lux at 2d, T. Turner at CF and Belli at first. Taylor obviously cannot or will not hit. Maybe Belli wakes up; if the Cards go to a lefthander, Puhols replaces Belli, unless Belli shows some life. And, Belli should be ordered to bunt in the right situation! .

    • I hope you come back and re-read your post later tonight!!

      Belli with a hit, two walks, and two stolen bases; Taylor with the walkoff HR

  9. You need every single bat in the game. I’m sorry but Bellinger hasn’t hit a lick. One of his so called hits a couple of games back was actually an error on the pitcher by any unbiased observer. Maybe next season he bounces back but with just one game. He is not my choice.

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