Although the Los Angeles Dodgers managed to snap their three-game losing streak Thursday night, they scored just one run in the process. To further exemplify their offensive struggles, the lone run didn’t come on a homer, RBI double or single, but instead on a walk-off balk drawn by Kiké Hernandez.
Prior to Thursday’s game with the Texas Rangers, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged there had been some discussion on changing the lineup. That ability, or luxury, is furthered Yasiel Puig returning just over two weeks ago and Scott Van Slyke on Wednesday.
With the Dodgers set to begin a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Friday, Mattingly has indeed made changes. Puig bats leadoff for the second time in three games, and second time overall this season. The first instance was with Joc Pederson not in the lineup, though he is on Friday and is batting second.
“Just to see what it looks like,” Mattingly said of the change at the top of the order. The trickle down effect has Justin Turner, who starts at third base, batting third. It’ll be the sixth time in Turner’s career he bats third, where he’s a lifetime .192/.276/.346 with two doubles.
That moves Adrian Gonzalez back to cleanup, where he’s often hit this season and throughout his career. Howie Kendrick bats fifth and he’s followed by Andre Ethier, Yasmani Grandal, Jimmy Rollins and Mike Bolsinger.
Of the Dodgers in Friday’s lineup, only Grandal has a hit against rookie Giants starter Chris Heston; Grandal is 2-for-2 with one RBI. Gonzalez and Van Slyke are both 0-for-1, and Pederson has one walk in his lone plate appearance against the right-hander.
Los Angeles is only 2-7 against San Francisco this season with their wins coming at home. Both clubs enter the series playing less than stellar baseball; the Dodgers 6-4 in their last 10 games and the Giants 4-6. Nonetheless, only 2.5 games separates them in the National League West standings.
Whether by chance or coincidence, Mattingly previously shuffled his lineup in similar fashion ahead of a meeting with the Giants. It came back on April 29 when Pederson replaced Rollins at the top of the order for the first time this season.