The best players will play. That has been Manager Don Mattingly’s response to his multi-headed outfield dilemma all along.
Now after 30 games this season, Mattingly might be ready to go that route.
On Saturday, left fielder Carl Crawford is the one not in the starting outfield, only this time it is against a right-hander. Miami will start Jacob Turner, which normally would mean left-handed hitters Andre Ethier and Crawford would be in the lineup and either Matt Kemp or Yasiel Puig would sit.
But Crawford is in a 4-for-47 slump (.085) and has one extra-base hit since April 9.
Early on, none of the four were hitting particularly well, so Mattingly just kept rotating -- including Scott Van Slyke against left-handed starters and sitting both Ethier and Crawford -- almost as if he were waiting for things to shake loose.
Puig, Kemp and Ethier have been returning to form, but Crawford remains in search of his swing. Plus, of the four he is the least capable defensive outfielder.
Crawford can’t be thrilled, but neither can he really object. On the season, he’s hitting only .185 with no home runs and a slugging percentage (.259) almost 100 points behind second baseman Dee Gordon (.343).
The idea is to win games, and that means playing your best players. And it might be that time.