Scott Van Slyke found himself starting in left field and batting eighth for the first time in his career.
The outfielder/first baseman made the most of his time in the eighth slot, ending the game with a three-run walk-off home run against Steve Cishek and the Miami Marlins. Van Slyke ended the night 3-for-4 with the home run and the three RBIs. He also made a great play on defense, turning a double play by catching a fly ball and nailing the runner at the plate trying to tag up.
When asked if he feels like he’s forcing Don Mattingly’s hand in playing him more, Van Slyke responded, “I honestly like the way things are going. We’re winning. Guerrero is playing well, I’m swinging all right, the team is playing well. So whenever we get out there, we get out there.”
Van Slyke has participated in 20 games this year, starting 10 of those, and is hitting .340 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. He’s been worth six Defensive Runs Saved in the outfield, and has continued to hit not just against left-handers, but also right-handers.
After the game, he discussed Mattingly’s job of filling out the lineup sheet every day, “It’s probably really easy and really hard at the same time. It’s easy to throw guys in that you’re confident with, but you have to deal with people’s emotions and stuff like that. That’s a little bit trickier.”
It’s been a bit easier for Mattingly to manage the lineup and emotions in the outfield because of injuries to Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig, giving Van Slyke, Guerrero and Andre Ethier more playing time. In the infield, Juan Uribe has seen his playing time decrease, and he is learning to handle it. The Dodgers will have to hope that they continue to win in order to keep everyone happy.
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