When teams are struggling offensively, they tend to try different things. So here’s what's different for the Dodgers on Wednesday:
Yasiel Puig is batting leadoff.
This is due partially to the Rangers' starting left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and Manager Don Mattingly's wanting to sit left-handed hitting outfielders Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier, and partially just because the Dodgers’ offense has barely shown a pulse of late.
The Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs in seven of their last 12 games, so it’s the return of Puig in the leadoff spot.
“Obviously we’ve been a little stagnate offensively,” Mattingly said. “Without Joc in there today, it gives us a chance to get a little spark at the top of the order. It’s not a huge change, just something a little different.”
This is the first time in Puig’s 21 games this season he’s batted leadoff, though he did it 39 times in his first two seasons. He has a .301/.386/.527 slash line as a leadoff hitter.
The Dodgers are starting Scott Van Slyke (just off the disabled list) in left and Chris Heisey in center for Pederson, the Dodgers' normal leadoff hitter.
Mattingly would not say whether Puig leading off was just for Wednesday or could be a regular feature against left-handers.
“We’ve talked about different things, but for right now, it’s for today,” he said.