Today’s fun experiment in the lineup maneuverings finds Andre Ethier sitting, with Matt Kemp still in left and batting second.
Surprising, a little odd and probably just right for this night.
Dee Gordon is also getting the night off against left-hander Jose Quintana on Tuesday, replaced by Chone Figgins both at second base and in the leadoff spot.
Manager Don Mattingly elected to keep Kemp in left and start Scott Van Slyke in center. This isn’t like some unspoken punishment for Kemp, who has played almost his entire career in center, but more an effort to give him continued learning time in his new home, left field.
Tuesday marks his sixth consecutive start in left since Mattingly became dissatisfied with his defensive play in center.
“Just leave him to get comfortable,” Mattingly said. “We kind of look at Scott and Dre [Ethier] as the same guy in center. Both aren’t really typical center fielders, but good reads, good jumps, fundamentally sound out there. So we think keep one guy comfortable.”
By moving Kemp into the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Mattingly has Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Van Slyke batting in the two through six spots in the order.
Mattingly said he could have batted third baseman Justin Turner second, but didn’t want to push Van Slyke back to seventh.
“I felt like I’d rather get Matt the extra at-bat,” he said. “Puts him in a good place to hit behind Figgy, hopefully getting him good pitches to hit in front of Yasiel. He got a hit yesterday and he swung the bat good the day before, so get him a chance to get rolling.
“The two-hole’s always been a good place to hit when you have speed in front of you and guys hitting behind you. And Matt’s a speed guy also, so I think everything kind of works in his favor there.”
This marks the Dodgers’ 45th different lineup in 59 games.