Not to brag on myself, but your humble correspondent was the first reporter to ask Joe Torre during spring training whether, on the nights when JP is in the starting lineup, he would consider batting JP ninth and the pitcher eighth. Well, tonight, he is actually doing it (not that I’m claiming he is doing it on my suggestion, because I’m sure that isn’t the case). Anyway, the rationale is that you can still bat Manny third so he comes up in the first inning, but in subsequent innings, you have three table-setters hitting AHEAD of Manny so that Manny, in effect, is batting fourth. And before anyone suggests it, no, it ISN’T because Joe thinks Eric Stults is a better hitter that JP.
Stults becomes the first Dodgers starting pitcher not to bat ninth since Don Drysdale batted seventh on Aug. 15, 1965 against Pittsburgh. That day, according to Elias Sports Bureau, catcher John Roseboro hit 8th (1-for-4) and shortstop John Kennedy hit 9th (0-for-2, BB, K). The Dodgers lost 4-2, and Drysdale went 0-for-2 with 2 strikeouts before being pulled after 6.0 innings of work.
By the way, Ethier is back in the cleanup spot, Martin drops to sixth.