With two starting outfielders, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford. on the disabled list, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had to count on other guys to produce for them.
One of those contributors has been 28-year-old Scott Van Slyke. The outfielder, who has been with the team for four seasons now, but has never gotten the chance to play every day, has been getting a lot more playing time.
He took advantage of that on Monday night, playing perhaps the best game of his young career. Van Slyke went 3-for-4, including a walk-off three-run homer off Miami Marlins closer Steve Cishek. He also displayed talent in the field, throwing the potential tying run out at home plate in the seventh inning, and on the base paths stretching a single into two bases on a misplay by Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich.
According to Dodgers Nation reporter Matt Moreno, one man who appreciates Van Slyke’s contributions is last night’s starting pitcher, Zack Greinke:
I was thinking about it seems like he was on base every time, after that play then he got another hit, I was like ‘dang, Slyke’s doing it all today.’ He always does good in the outfield. I don’t think he gets much credit, but he does a very good job out there.”
Van Slyke, who was used mainly only against left-handed pitching, is proving this year that he can hit anyone. In 47 at-bats, he is batting .340 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. Most of his success this year has come off right-handed pitching, as he is batting .361 compared to only .273 against lefties.
Having the luxury of bench players like Van Slyke, Andre Ethier, Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero means that the organization does not have to rush guys like Puig back from injury. The team currently holds the second-best record in the Major Leagues at 21-10, despite all the injuries they have dealt with.
Scott Van Slyke Talks Walk-Off Home Run, Play At The Plate