The Los Angeles Dodgers set an MLB record last season by placing 28 different on the disabled list, yet still claimed an unprecedented fourth consecutive National League West title. They’ve encroached on the record this year, all the while playing to the best record in baseball.
Their prolific level of success, which included a 43-7 stretch, has afforded the Dodgers the luxury of erring on the side of caution with injuries, and resting players whenever deemed necessary. It’s also allowed them to still hold the top record despite a historic slide.
A combination of the injuries and providing players with rest have factored into Dodgers manager Dave Roberts shuffling his lineup with plenty of frequency. Though, it’s also a strategy the team largely utilized throughout much of the year, because of their ballyhooed depth.
With the regular season winding to a close, Roberts said he intends to settle on a regular lineup, via Specetrum SportsNet LA:
“I think people gotta understand we’ve had Corey down for quite some time and now he’s back. We’ve had Cody down for some time and he’s been back for a little bit. Adrian has been down, so to have him in there once in a while to keep him fresh. To have Andre Ethier, who had a couple good at-bats but has been gone all year, to try to get him to be somewhat current, he needs to play. The catching situation has been good, and I think with the second base situation, trying to find a way to get Logan untracked. But also, Chase has earned opportunities. Now we’ve got everyone healthy. Now it’s trying to use these guys the right way. Like I’ve said over the course of the last two weeks, at some point we are going to make a decision to go ahead with essentially a set lineup. We’re not prepared to do that right now.”
Roberts previously pointed to second base and center field as positions he’s hoping to find production and clarity at. He intimated Monday that Chris Taylor is viewed as the team’s primary center fielder.
With Taylor seemingly entrenched in center, it leaves Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson and Joc Pederson vying for left field, Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley at second base, and Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal competing behind the plate.
Granderson and Pederson have each struggled at the plate, while there’s doubt as to whether Ethier can handle an everyday role after missing nearly two full seasons.
Although Grandal has received the lion’s share of starts at catcher, Roberts said Barnes had earned the right to more playing time, and that he’s equally comfortable with either backstop.
The second-year manager also said Utley’s play warranted more opportunities, but implied Forsythe was likely to continue starting when the Dodgers faced a left-handed pitcher.