Dodgers Role Players Coming Up Big
The Los Angeles Dodgers have had many role players step up this season. They are currently the number one team in the National League West and are favorites to get to the World Series.They have been playing great baseball. What many may not realize is that they have played this well with varying players. Injuries have plagued the Dodgers lineup throughout the beginning of the season. AJ Pollock has been out of the lineup since he had surgery to correct an infection in his elbow. Austin Barnes, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, and Russell Martin have all made trips to the injury list (IL) this year. However, the Dodgers have found ways to win games without these players. There have been several role players who have stepped up to contribute this year.
Yes, you read that correctly. Will Smith, a top-prospect catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has helped out tremendously during his promotion to the Big Leagues. In 21 at-bats, he slashed .286/.348/.967 with two home runs. Smith did more than just swing the bat. He received, blocked, and threw well. Some Dodger fans were upset by the move to send him back to AAA Oklahoma City on June 7, 2019 after Austin Barnes got healthy. Regardless if this was the right call, it is safe to say that Dodger fans will be seeing more of Will Smith in the foreseeable future.
Alex Verdugo has stepped up and filled a major void since the A.J. Pollock injury. He started the season on fire, however, he has cooled off since then. Verdugo is slashing .300/.353/.471 with four home runs, and 28 RBI. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts is adamant that Pollock will play center field when he comes back. It is unsure what Verdugo’s role will be when this time comes. However, Verdugo has played a large role in the success of the Dodgers up to this point.
Dylan Floro, a relief pitcher, has put together quite the season. He has 22 2/3 innings pitched in 24 appearances. Floro carries a 2.78 ERA, has struck out 16, and only walked four hitters. Opponents are hitting a mere .239 against him this year. Many Dodger fans have been questioning the reliability of the bullpen over the past couple of seasons. Floro is proving that he is a reliable option to come out of the pen and get outs. He has definitely played a large part in the success of the Dodgers in the middle and late innings of ball games.
Justin Turner is in no way a “no-name”. However, he has not been the Justin Turner that Dodger fans have come to know and love. He started out his season rather slowly. Many believe it had to do with him getting hit in the wrist early in the season. Turner has started to heat up at the dish as of late. He is currently slashing .302/.388/.432 with six home runs and 25 RBI. It appears that Turner is finally healthy and starting to let the bat fly through the strike zone. Dave Roberts is trying to manage Turner’s hamstring issue on a daily basis by limiting playing time. Their goal is to manage his workload in order to avoid putting him on the 10-day IL.
The Last Word
It is a scary idea that the Dodgers have battled injuries throughout 2019. Dodger fans are hoping this health will come about in September and October to bring home a World Series Championship. Los Angeles Dodgers fans are eyeing their first championship since 1988. On paper, this Dodgers team checks all the boxes: hitting, pitching, and fielding. Major League Baseball needs to be on high alert if the Dodgers get healthy all at once. It could be a perfect storm that brings the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Los Angeles.
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