When the pitcher isn’t pitching well, change the catcher.
That was the thinking behind having A.J. Ellis catch Chris Capuano today for the first time since May 29. While the Dodgers haven’t lost a game started by Capuano since July 4, the left-hander has a 7.53 earned-run average in his last three outings and his rotation spot could be in jeopardy come September. Tim Federowicz had caught Capuano’s last 11 starts dating back to June 19.
“I wanted to kind of mix that up just a little bit,” manager Don Mattingly said. “One start with Ricky (Nolasco), A.J. caught him. Then Fed went back to him. I want to keep the mixture of guys’ playing time the same. Cap’s been OK the last couple times out and I just wanted to change the dynamic just a little bit.”
Second baseman Mark Ellis and center fielder Andre Ethier were both healthy scratches against Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy. Yasiel Puig is playing right field and batting fifth for the first time in his major-league career, while Skip Schumaker is batting sixth and playing center field.
The left-handed hitting Ethier typically sits against left-handed pitchers, and Peavy is almost equally stingy against lefties (.254/.289/.465) and righties (.240/.282/.399).
“I needed Puiggy back there a little bit,” Mattingly said. “It’s easier for me just to move one guy. With the group of guys I have in there today, it’s more balanced.”
Based on an informal press box poll, that might be the first time Mattingly has referred to Puig as “Puiggy.”