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Dodgers’ Lineup Construction: End of Game Matchup Issues?



I’ve observed something over the last few games in regards to lineup construction. The trend I’ve noticed seems to lead to disadvantages in the late innings.  For example, let’s take a look at the starting lineup for July 14th.

The lineup in hitting side is:

  1. Right
  2. Right
  3. Right
  4. Left
  5. Right
  6. Left
  7. Left
  8. Right
  9. Pitcher

For instance, with a bench of Grandal (a switch hitter), Pederson (left-handed), Utley (left) and Turner (right), what isn’t taken into account is that in the late innings; the handedness of the pitcher will matter.

By the 9th inning of the game the Dodgers had a lineup of:

  1. Taylor – right
  2. Hernandez – right
  3. Kemp – right
  4. Muncy – left
  5. Pederson – left (Jansen took his spot after 9th)
  6. Bellinger – left
  7. Toles – left
  8. Utley – left (in for Hill to PH in 9th)
  9. Grandal – switch but better from the left side

Yet, what the Angels were able to do was have a right hander (Hansel Robles) deal with all the righties. Then, they brought in lefty José Alvarez to pitch to all the left handed thunder in the ninth. In any case, other than the Andrew Toles fluke double; the hitters were retired pretty easily.

Obviously, I contend that by having a little more balance in the initial lineup.  Here’s what I’d start with against a left handed starter (assuming Turner and Puig are still out):

  1. Taylor
  2. Muncy
  3. Kemp
  4. Hernández
  5. Bellinger
  6. Barnes
  7. Toles/Pederson
  8. Forsythe

Against a right hander:

  1. Taylor
  2. Muncy
  3. Kemp
  4. Bellinger
  5. Grandal
  6. Pederson
  7. Hernández
  8. Toles

Conclusion Of Lineup Thoughts:

Justin Turner is a key piece missing from the lineup

In brief, given both of those lineups I’d hold off on pinch hitting for the starters until the ninth unless there is a golden opportunity to make a big impact. Since the situation has a lot of base runners and the possible matchup is a big difference maker.  With the short benches – maybe even shorter with Turner hurting – it seems the teams that can manage those late inning situations and still make the opposing team have to burn through their bullpen due to match-ups will be at a distinct advantage.

Still, I’m a big fan of Dave Roberts and I think he’s someone I would have loved playing for.  In fact, I also believe he’s also learning how to manage – along with many of his manager colleagues – in this new era where his bench is only four players deep. When Roberts was playing, even into most of his coaching career; the bench consisted of five to six and even seven players.  Nevertheless, if you’ve even managed baseball at a competitive level; it is impossible to get everything ‘perfect’ and it is much easier to see things via hindsight.

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/predicting-the-dodgers-2019-starting-rotation-ts0778/2018/07/15/”]Predicting the Dodgers’ 2019 Starting Rotation[/button]

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

Comments

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  1. You could be correct. However, the late inning line up you were concerned about could also be rectified by simply changing the batting order slightly so all the lefties and all the right is were not bunched.

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