After the Dodgers vanquished the Chicago Cubs on the way to their first World Series since 1988, the club’s brain trust was celebrating, not making immediate roster decisions.
But before the club’s 11-1 win over the Cubs that clinched the National League pennant, manager Dave Roberts was asked about slumping outfielder Curtis Granderson and how — if? — he fit into the Dodgers’ plans moving forward.
At the time, Roberts did not want to ponder the prospect of facing another right-handed starting pitcher, not with the Chicago Cubs using left-handed starter Jose Quintana on Thursday and with left-hander Jon Lester in line after that.
But Roberts acknowledged that he would consider keeping Granderson on the bench when the Dodgers do see a right-handed pitcher again.
Unproductive since joining the Dodgers in August, Granderson has one hit and eight strikeouts in 15 plate appearances during the playoffs.
Granderson looked particularly helpless Wednesday in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, who struck him out three times. Granderson also later struck out against Wade Davis.
“He’s preparing, it’s just not working out,” Roberts said. “When we get to that situation, we’ll look at it. Obviously, there’s got to be some adjustments, though.”
Roberts went with Andre Ethier in left field against both right-handed starters in the NLCS. Granderson started in center field in Game 4, after Joc Pederson started in center in Game 3.
It’s in these situations that the Dodgers are hampered by the absence of Corey Seager, because Chris Taylor, the regular center fielder, has moved to shortstop against right-handed pitchers. Charlie Culberson has started at shortstop against left-handers.
Culberson was not activated for the National League Division Series against Arizona, but with Seager’s back injury he was added for the NLCS and hit a team-best .455, with two doubles and a triple among his five hits. He also played flawlessly on defense.
Roberts said he was willing to play Culberson against right-handed pitchers. He also indicated that Seager had another productive day Thursday in his rehabilitation from a sprained lower back.
The team hopes Seager will be ready for the World Series.