Dodgers News: Andre Ethier Grateful For Opportunity To Start In NLCS
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stated on multiple occasions the club, front office included, did not view Andre Ethier as an everyday option or candidate to start in left field. He was included on the playoff rosters as a left-handed threat off the bench.

Yet for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, there Ethier was. Starting in left field and batting fifth.

Like all other decisions for Roberts this postseason, the roll of the dice broke in the Dodgers’ favor. Ethier lined a game-tying home run to right field in the second inning off Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks.

Although it didn’t amount to anything, he singled in the sixth inning to give the Dodgers two on with nobody out. The postseason start was Ethier’s first this October and 27th of his career.

It came on the heels of another season in which he missed the first five months due to injury. “Personally, it’s just been a battle to get back on,” Ethier said after the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the NLCS.

“Last year was frustrating, but this was more because I feel like I got myself back. Coming from an injury, and then another five-month break where you’re not knowing what’s going to happen. Then getting my name called, it’s a great thing.

“I think it was a long road just to get back to here and get on this roster. For a team this successful to have so many options and to be someone that can be singled out and go out there and be part of the nine, it’s a big honor that Doc would, I guess, trust me.”

Last season and again this year, Roberts spoke highly of the at-bat quality Ethier provided despite the significant time missed. It’s a reason the Dodgers included the veteran outfielder on their postseason rosters in 2016 and 2017.

“Very, very happy for him,” Roberts said Tuesday night. “The game honors you. And a guy like Andre who has done it the right way for such a long time and repeatedly said he just wanted to be a part of this and to prepare every single day like he’s going to play, and when that opportunity presented itself, he was ready.

“For him to come through and perform and pick us up the way he did is no surprise. It’s just a credit to his professionalism.”