Dave Roberts Doesn’t Believe Any Player Has Earned Right To Regularly Bat 3rd In Dodgers Lineup
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

For as much as the Los Angeles Dodgers rely on depth and tinker with their lineup throughout the course of a season, the top half has largely been in place since Cody Bellinger emerged last summer.

Prior to that point, Chris Taylor had solidified the leadoff spot, and he was followed by Corey Seager and Justin Turner more times than not. The blueprint figured to see some change this season once Turner suffered a fractured left wrist when he was hit by a pitch.

The Dodgers were projected to be without their All-Star third baseman and unquestioned No. 3 hitter for a minimum of of four weeks since the mid-March injury. The organization has not released a public timetable for Turner’s recovery.

In his absence, Dodgers general manager Dave Roberts has used several players in the three-hole. On Monday against the San Diego Padres it was Kiké Hernandez for the first time this season.

Before first pitch of the series opener at Petco Park, Roberts explained he doesn’t believe any of his players have commanded to bat third on a regular basis, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

Yasiel Puig has received the bulk of the opportunities to temporarily replace Turner, making 10 starts this season as the No. 3 batter. The next-closest is Matt Kemp (two starts), followed by Yasmani Grandal, Hernandez and Corey Seager who each have one.

Last season, Turner made 122 starts as the Dodgers’ third hitter, followed by Grandal (12). Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger both made nine such starts.

Although the No. 3 spot in their lineup may receive the bulk of the attention because of the void left by Turner, fact of the matter is the Dodgers haven’t received expected production from several of their starters.

Though, Kemp and Grandal have stood out of late, and did so again Monday as they each slugged a home run and combined for eight RBI.