Full disclosure: I picked the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish third, ahead of St. Louis and Chicago, in the National League Central this year. Can’t take it back. It happened.
One week later, I found myself using the quality of the Dodgers’ weekend opponent as some sort of asterisk in a game story after the Bucs were swept out of Dodger Stadium. That’s what happens when you can recite stats like these:
Six games into the season, NL pitchers are hitting .138/.180/.198. The Pirates are hitting .119/.188/.159.
Nick Punto gets his first start, Luis Cruz and Andre Ethier get their first day off, and Tim Federowicz gets his first start behind the plate when the Dodgers host the Pittsburgh Pirates to conclude their first homestand of the season.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had different reasons for each of the changes. Cruz, who is still searching for his first hit of the season after 19 plate appearances, “needs to put those behind him because he can’t change anything that happened in the first five games of the season,” Mattingly said.
“Hopefully he can see the forest because he was getting a little close to the trees, can’t see his way out.”
Juan Uribe will start at third base and bat sixth.
Juan Uribe is making his first start for the Dodgers since Aug.14, 2012. (Associated Press)
One day after his two-error performance against the San Francisco Giants, Justin Sellers will sit and Luis Cruz will play shortstop in Wednesday’s series finale against Tim Lincecum.
Juan Uribe will play third base, making his first start since August 14 of last year. Cruz had played third base in the first two games of the season.
Sellers, a last-minute addition to the 25-man roster in spring training, had only made two errors in 29 career games at shortstop before Tuesday. In the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 3-0 loss, he made a pair of throwing miscues that led to two unearned runs. It didn’t technically make the difference in the game — the Giants already led 1-0 — but benching Sellers one day after the blunders could be more than coincidence.
Of course, it could also be in response to the Dodgers’ almost total lack of offensive production in their first two games of the season against the Giants. They’re 9 for 59 (.153) in the two games.
While Uribe hasn’t been an offensive threat since he came to Los Angeles two years ago, he batted .333/.358/.451 in spring training — possibly saving his spot on the 40-man roster.
Today, Uribe gets his first shot to show that his spring was no fluke.
Uribe will bat seventh and Cruz sixth against Lincecum.
Luis Cruz said Monday that he “lost it.” Over and over and over again.
But what, exactly, did he lose when he induced a brawl in the WBC game between Canada and Mexico on Saturday? Did he lose the formula for “Team Quality Balance”? Here it is again:
To fit that formula on the back of his hand, Cruz and the rest of the participants in the World Baseball Classic would have to write fairly small. It’s an important formula, the one that determines which of three teams tied with identical records, and no head-to-head tie-breaking games, advances out of pool play into the second round of the tournament.