The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the first two games of a three-game series at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks in large part due to stellar pitching from their fourth and fifth starters Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias.
The Diamondbacks manager, Chip Hale, employed an interesting strategy in the second game of the series Tuesday, a strategy that has started becoming more popular in the National League recently. The first year manager batted his pitcher, Robbie Ray, eighth and his second baseman, Cliff Pennington, ninth.
The strategy didn’t work out well on Tuesday, as both players went hitless and the Diamondbacks were only able to score one run in a 3-1 loss. Before the game, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gave his opinion on batting pitchers in the eight hole. “You’re just kind of picking and choosing. If you have the right guy that you feel like is a leadoff hitter hitting ninth then I guess you can do it, but it exposes your seven hole guy in the same way so now [Nick] Ahmed is the guy who was eighth,” the Dodger manager said.
“I know some teams are doing it, but I haven’t really heard any real good reasons why you should or real good reasons why you shouldn’t. It just depends how you feel about it. I think its the personnel as much as anything for me,” Mattingly said.
The Dodgers do not have a clear leadoff hitter, but what they do have is some good hitting pitchers. Zack Greinke, who won a Silver Slugger award in 2013, is not only the best hitting pitcher on the Dodgers, but one of the best hitting pitchers in the league. Clayton Kershaw has also shown at times that he can handle a bat, as he went 3-for-3 in one of his most recent starts.
Mattingly remains indifferent on the matter, so don’t expect to see a Dodger pitcher hitting eighth anytime soon.
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