One strength of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past couple of seasons has been their bench. This year is no different as the Dodgers own one of the best benches in baseball.
However, due to injuries in the outfield, bench players have been forced to take on bigger roles and so far they have succeeded. In the ninth inning of the second game of the doubleheader Tuesday in Colorado, the Dodgers were down 8-5 with two outs and the bases loaded.
Alex Guerrero, who entered as part of a double switch in the eighth, launched a 1-2 pitch for a game-winning grand slam to straight away center. After the dramatic win, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly praised Guerrero, via Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA:
The guys that are good off the bench are the guys that can just hit. I know he’s [Guerrero] a rookie, but he’s not a rookie from that standpoint. He’s played a lot of baseball, he’s an older guy. But one thing he’s done from the first day he’s got here really is swing the bat. He did it in the spring, he did it in Triple-A last year, and he’s done it here.”
Mattingly went into more detail as to what trait leads to players off the bench succeeding:
I think that’s what makes it better for those kind of guys coming off the bench is that they can just hit, and then in those situations are really just adrenaline situations when you come off the bench so you got that juice.”
After missing out on winning the job at second base last year, Guerrero has transformed into a third baseman/left fielder utility man. He’s batting .296/.327/.684 with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs in 104 plate appearances over 39 games.
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