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Dodgers NLDS Game 5: Roberts Names Will Smith Starting Catcher, Martin Sits

The rookie gets the nod.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith (16) hits a base hit to left field during a MLB game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 31, 2019 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

At Dodger Stadium for what could be the final time in 2019, Will Smith will be getting jiggy with the starting line up.

I already apologize for that line.

Yesterday, manager Dave Roberts announced that rookie catcher Will Smith will be in the starting lineup over Russell Martin. The Dodger offense, which has been off and on anemic in this series, was given a jolt by the 36 year-old Martin in game 3. While the veteran was in the lineup more for his rapport with Cy Young hopeful Hyun-Jin Ryu, he proved to be a difference maker with 2 hits and 4 RBI in a legendary performance.

Smith has struggled offensively in the series, hitting to the tune of a .111 average (1-9) but with 3 walks. While the rookies carried Los Angeles through the summer, the veterans have outperformed them in the first 4 games of the NLDS.

Martin is batting .500. David Freese is batting .571 while taking advantage of mostly pinch hitting duty. Surprisingly, Enrique Hernandez has picked up only 3 at-bats in this series while the 21 year-old Gavin Lux has started 3 of 4 games.

That marks something of a new look for Dave Roberts and the front office who usually tend to rely on guys that have “been there.” Hernandez in particular has received 107 postseason plate appearances since joining LA in 2015.

Nevertheless, the Dodgers appear poised to ride or die with the rookies rather than the battle tested veterans. Hopefully “the computers” pull some magic out against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg.

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

18 Comments

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  1. Seriously? The Dodgers season resting on the rookies?
    Roberts will bring in the veterans at the end of the game after it’s too late.
    That should be enough to replace him.
    Hope I’m 100% wrong.

    • That’s his move. Bring them in mid game he got lucky last time that the nationals made a dumb move by going to Corbin instead of keeping Sanchez. We won’t get so fortunate this game Strasburg will be going the distance

  2. While I agree with Smith and Lux starting, I disagree with Beatty starting. Not that there’s anything wrong with him, but with your season on the line, u want ur best playoff performers in the lineup and that would be Kike Hernandez and especially David Freese. He’s made a living out of coming up big in the playoffs and to not start him tonight is absolutely ludicrous! I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite them in the ass!

    • If you agree with Lux, then how do you get Freese into the starting lineup? He can only play 1b, so that would move Max to 2b and thereby putting Lux on the bench. Please explain your logic.

  3. Is it Dave Roberts or is it upper management favoring the “rookies” over Kike and Freese???? Cmon, Roberts, play the proven players………

    • This team is always one foot in the future one foot in the present. This is no doubt a FO call to get these kids experience for the 2020 playoffs and beyond. We will never win a championship like that. Next year it’ll something else

  4. I resent this team I hope you burn and never win a championship for what you do to fans and how continuously put the team in a position to lose instead of win because of your stupid metrics that don’t work in the playoffs

    • Sad to say that, as a Dodgers fan for nearly 55 years, I tend to agree with your thoughts here. Maybe, if LA loses tonight (and not hoping for that to happen, BTW), Kasten will not resign Friedman and fire Roberts. Move Geren to the manager post. Or anyone other than Doc.

      • Friedman definitely has to go as well for things to change or it will be more of the same with just a different manager in the dugout

  5. Dave Roberts is a just proving he can not make Game winning decisions. I will be happy if they win or Lose. If they lose, I will be happy because Dave Roberts will make the perfect case that he is not the right manager for the Great LA DODGERS!!! We need someone who can make wise decisions when it counts. Face it the man is Driving the Top of the Line Franchise team in all of Baseball and does not know how to steer the damn race car toward the finish line for the win!! Out with Roberts!!! Go to another team you can make excuses for and be positive losing somewhere else!!!! Just Not in LA!!!

  6. Strasberg is the best …yet we are putting news guys with very little experience In front of him…not our best who are now on the bench….I hate to support the band wagon
    …but Robert’s must go either way

  7. KAKI HAS BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT, HE IS WAY BETTER @ 2ND THAN MUNCEY, HAS BETTER GLOVE AND BETTER ARM. MUNCEY SEEMS TO BE A FAVORITE OF D.R.

  8. Look at what the veterans in other teams are doing (Pham, Molina, Goldschmit, Zimmerman), they are all battle tested and hitting when it mattered the most. Starting the rookies on game 5 will cost the dodgers the game, unless they contribute and finally hit. And please leave Pollock out. The only thing he will get us is another rounds of SOs.
    Hoping Freeze and Kike start tonight. Really disappointed that Martin won’t be in there.

  9. Folks the lineup is out if it hasn’t already been seen:
    , 1) Joc Pederson, RF
    2) Max Muncy, 2B
    3) Justin Turner, 3B
    4) Cody Bellinger, CF
    5) Corey Seager, SS
    6) Matt Beaty, LF
    7) Gavin Lux, 2B
    8) Will Smith, C
    9) Walker Buehler, P

  10. If Roberts loses and takes responsibility, he fired himself. Actually take responsibility and not just say it.

    2017 all over again, so I’m getting used to it.

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