Outside of the Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner tandem replacing Juan Uribe at third base, and the occasional days off provided to veterans and left-handed batters, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has largely kept the order of his lineup card unchanged.
The biggest move to date was Mattingly’s moving Joc Pederson from the eight-hole to leadoff, which subsequently dropped Jimmy Rollins from first to second in the order. Mattingly named Rollins the club’s leadoff hitter in Spring Training and the veteran shortstop ran with the role.
After a strong spring Rollins hit a go-ahead home run on Opening Day, but has since been mired in a prolonged slump. In fairness to Rollins, the entire team is currently struggling at the plate as the Dodgers have scored only scored eight runs in their last eight games after hanging six in a win over the Colorado Rockies on May 15.
“So if I take the same eight guys and put them in a different order, then we’ll score more runs?” Mattingly asked rhetorically prior to Sunday’s game. “Yeah, maybe. I can shake it up and throw it out there, but at this point we’re not looking to make changes.”
Pederson hit .308/.500/.538 in 15 games (57 plate appearances) when batting eighth this season. In 22 games (100 plate appearances) as the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter he’s batting .202/.330/.548, and has nine of his 12 home runs and 14 of his 23 RBIs.
Rollins meanwhile has seen a slight increase in his averages since being moved to the two-hole, and has hit safely in two of the last three games. As the leadoff hitter, he batted .192/.294/.315 with one home run, seven RBIs, 16 strikeouts and 11 walks. In his current role, Rollins has a .205/.262/.359 slash line with three home runs, five RBIs, 11 strikeouts and six walks.
Mattingly also made the decision to swap Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick, his “dynamic duo,” in the order, moving Gonzalez to cleanup and Kendrick to batting third. Each continued to swing the bat well in the weeks after the change.
Rollins went 2-for-4 Sunday, which was a game where the Dodgers struggled to do much of anything against James Shields. The 36-year-old shortstop is again slotted to bat second in Monday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves.