Going into the season there was much speculation on whether the clog in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfield would be a problem for the team. Although it is impossible to please five outfielders fighting for three spots on a daily basis, the Dodgers’ outfielders have still managed to produce at a high level.
From a statistical standpoint, the Dodgers’ time-share in the outfield has been a success through the first 45 games of the 2014 season. Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and, in a lesser role, Scott Van Slyke have combined for 23 home runs and 80 RBIs.
Led by Puig, Dodger outfielders have the best on-base percentage in the National League and are second to the Colorado Rockies’ outfielders in slugging percentage.
According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly says he believes the current outfield rotation is something the team can be successful with:
“I think it’s something you can win with,” Mattingly said. “I think that’s my job and in a sense their job and their responsibilities. My job is to try and continue to communicate. It’s their job as professionals to do their job even if they’re not happy. … I guess it depends on how everybody handles it. And it depends on if it stays like this.”
Of course, it is going to be impossible to please all five guys in the rotation and recent comments from Crawford and Ethier have placed an emphasis on the team’s goals and needing to accept their roles for the greater good of the team. While Kemp and Puig have cemented their respective spots in the outfield, Ethier has been on the outside looking in more times than not.
Likely the most versatile among the group of outfielders, Ethier has been left out of the lineup in seven of the past 11 games, which includes Tuesday’s lineup. The crowded situation may be manageable for Mattingly thus far, but if the Dodgers continue to struggle, it could create for a more contentious issue.
Dodgers Update: Yasiel Puig’s Story Going To Be A Movie? Plus, Don Mattingly’s Trouble In The Outfield