With this team largely mired in an offensive drought, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made several changes to the lineup Friday night, the series opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Joc Pederson was bumped down from the leadoff spot, replaced atop the order by Yasiel Puig. Mattingly attributed the swap was simply to wanting to get a different look at the top of the lineup. The change also affected the middle of the order as Justin Turner was moved up to third and Adrian Gonzalez was back in the cleanup spot.
By batting Turner third, Mattingly had a more preferable left-right-left combination with his two through four hitters; Howie Kendrick hit fifth. As for Turner, he went 3-for-3 with one home run, two doubles and two RBIs in only his sixth career start when batting third.
While Turner doesn’t have extensive experience at that specific spot in the lineup, he dismissed any significance or impact it actually carries. “You only hit third in the first inning, so it’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “We just shuffled a couple of guys around.”
“I believe that you’re going to get pitched how you’re going to get pitched no matter where you’re hitting in the order,” Turner continued. “I’ve been in our pitching meetings when they talk about those guys and they talk about their weaknesses and how to attack them, and never once have I heard, ‘Well this guy’s hitting third tonight so we got to pitch him different than when he was hitting fifth.'”
As for the overall success he’s had this season, Turner credited it to staying the course and putting good at-bats together. “We talk about it all the time, trying to take a good at-bat and make sure you’re getting good pitches to hit,” he said.
“I think when I get in trouble I try to do a little too much. So I just try to stay within myself and make sure I’m getting good pitches and let the results take care of themselves.”
While the Dodgers collectively showed more life at the plate Friday than they had in recent games, it wasn’t enough to overcome a Buster Posey grand slam and four combined RBIs from Brandon Crawford and Matt Duffy. The loss dropped the Dodgers to 2-8 on the season against the Giants.