Dodgers: Importance of right-handed bats to Dodger lineup
We’re in the heat of the race for playoff baseball and the National League’s best record and the Dodgers pulled an ace in Gavin Lux. But he’s another lefty bat.
What about the when the Dodgers face southpaws? The Dodgers have an undoubtedly lefty-heavy lineup, even if it is one of the deepest lefty-heavy lineups in all of the sport. Max Muncy and Alex Verdugo are out, and they were replaced by even more lefty bats.
Could this be a problem come October, when the lefty-specialists get tougher and the left-handed starters get better (even though all it takes to stop us right now is Eric Lauer)?
Not if Justin Turner, A.J. Pollock, and the super-utility men step in and get the job done. By the looks of it, they’ll be able to rise to the occasion though, especially in JT and AJ’s cases.
Both have done well for themselves against lefties, with Pollock leading all Dodgers in batting average when facing lefties with a .350 mark in 88 plate appearances. He’s added three doubles and three homers as well, with 17 strikeouts to 6 walks.
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For RedTurn2, while he was better last season against southpaws .336 AVG with 23 walks and 15 doubles in 145 plate appearances), he still has put up numbers similar to those of Machado last season.
In 2019, Turner has faced lefties 177 times, and in that large sample, he has thrived in terms of power, even if his batting average has dipped down to .285. His 12 home runs largely make up for the dip in AVG, and his 11 doubles and 15 walks only add to his overall line.
If Turner can keep up the power and Pollock the batting average, the Dodgers will have a solid two righty bats to place within the top three spots in the order against lefties, giving Roberts the option to sandwich Corey Seager at the two-hole between them and to put Cody Bellinger at the cleanup spot.
But what about Kiké and CT3? How have they fared this season against the pitchers they are supposed to mash?
For Hernandez, he’s been a mirror image of the player he was last season in the same scenarios. In 2019, in his 158 plate appearances versus lefty arms, he’s hit a respectable .264 with 7 home runs and had 26 strikeouts to 14 walks.
Kike’s power is lacking though, as he has just 4 doubles and 26 singles against righties, but getting on base really is the most important thing at the end of the day, as the Dodger lineup does not lack power.
Taylor hasn’t been quite as good, with a .232 AVG and 7 home runs in a whopping 214 plate appearances. If he’s going to play over guys like Matt Beaty and Gavin Lux against lefties, he’ll need to earn it. And as of right now, that doesn’t look promising.