With the Dodgers searching for the victory that would secure their third consecutive division championship, rookie Corey Seager started at shortstop Tuesday in place of veteran Jimmy Rollins.
“I just think Corey gives us the best chance to win today,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly said something similar Monday when Seager started in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Does that make Seager the starting shortstop?
“We feel like he gives us the best chance to win today,” Mattingly repeated.
Will these decisions be made daily? Or have the Dodgers made a long-term decision?
Mattingly wouldn’t say.
“I don’t need to talk about tomorrow’s lineup or any other decisions that we’re making,” Mattingly said. “Today’s decision is that Corey gives us the best chance at short.”
Seager began Tuesday’s game batting .342 with three home runs and 14 runs batted in in 22 games. He had reached base safely in all 20 of his starts.
Rollins was batting .225. In his career, Rollins was seven for 32 with 10 strikeouts against Madison Bumgarner, who started Tuesday for the Giants.
Mattingly made it a point to speak to Rollins about the lineup. Rollins, 36, is a former National League most valuable player and World Series champion.
“It’s definitely a conversation, that’s for sure, out of respect to him, his career, what he’s done in his whole career, but also I feel like he’s been a huge part of our club this year, getting to where we are right now, as far as his leadership in the middle of the diamond, his leadership in the clubhouse,” Mattingly said.
Seager said there is no awkwardness between him and Rollins, whom he has come to regard as a mentor. Seager said the veteran not only welcomed him to the team, but has also frequently offered him advice.
Seager said that when he made an error Saturday in the Dodgers’ loss to the Colorado Rockies, Rollins provided him with tips on footwork and positioning.
“He’s been amazing,” Seager said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better than that. He’s a veteran. He doesn’t need to do that. For him to go out there and still help is pretty awesome.”
The medical staff sounded encouraged by Yasiel Puig’s progress, Mattingly said. Puig played in a simulated game at the Dodgers’ spring-training complex in Arizona. The former All-Star right fielder still hasn’t been ruled out for the first round of the postseason. … Speaking of the playoffs, it’s looking increasingly likely the Dodgers will open them on the road. The Dodgers are in line to take on the New York Mets. Before Tuesday, the magic number for the Mets to secure home-field advantage was four.