Struggles against lefties make Cody Bellinger a platoon player for Dodgers

first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “These are difficult conversations. But my No. 1 thing is — I understand their thoughts. It’s human for them to feel they’re the best options and be disappointed, upset – whatever it might be. But there’s an overall sacrifice that is needed for us to move on and to win a championship. To each one of these guy’s credit, they’re buying in. I know it’s not easy.”ALSORight-hander Dennis Santana pitched one inning for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga in the Quakes’ playoff game Friday night. Santana walked two batters but struck out one and didn’t give up a hit. It was his first game action since his big-league debut on June 1. Santana was diagnosed with a strained muscle in the back of his pitching shoulder shortly after that game.UP NEXTDodgers LHP Rich Hill (7-5, 3.73 ERA) at Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (6-7, 4.80 ERA), Saturday, 12:10 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available) Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season center_img DENVER – A year ago, no left-handed hitter in baseball had a higher slugging percentage against left-handed pitching than Cody Bellinger. Only three lefty hitters (Joey Votto, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Seager) had a higher OPS against left-handed pitching than Bellinger.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.That kept Bellinger in the lineup against left-handed pitching as a rookie. But his inability to replicate that this season has been the main reason Bellinger’s production has dropped off from his Rookie of the Year season – and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has started taking him out of the lineup against left-handed pitchers (like the Rockies’ Saturday starter, Kyle Freeland).“I think for Cody, this year I think has been a struggle – I know it’s been a struggle – against left-handers,” Roberts said. “Throughout his career, he’s shown he can hit left-handed pitching. But right now, we have options of guys that have done it and are doing it currently.”Bellinger’s offensive numbers against right-handed pitchers this season (.280/.355/.512) have been comparable to his rookie season (.265/.360/.588). But the dropoff against left-handers has been precipitous – a .220 average, .309 on-base percentage and .390 slugging percentage. “I think the left-handers are getting him to chase more than they did last year,” Roberts said. “So it’s two-fold. Number one, on balls outside of the strike zone, I think last year he did a better job of laying off. And I think last year there was an unfamiliarity where they were throwing him spin in the strike zone and he was making them pay. I think now the left-handers, they’re not giving in as much and he’s been more reluctant to take the free pass.”Related Articles Bellinger is not the only Dodger who finds himself in a platoon arrangement. Shortstop Manny Machado and third baseman Justin Turner are the only lineup certainties on a daily basis. Matt Kemp started for the National League All-Star team in July but a second-half slump has reduced him to a platoon player for the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig hit the longest home run by a Dodger this season Friday night and is 4 for 12 with two home runs in his career against Freeland. But, like Bellinger, he has not produced against left-handed pitchers this season (actually the past three) and was not in the starting lineup Saturday.“I think when you don’t have the depth we have – and I would argue that 29 other teams don’t have it – there is the argument to ride the hot hand,” Roberts said. “But over the course of a long and big sample size, each game and each pitcher is different. There’s value in lumping it all together in the recency but I think there’s a stronger case to be made on the larger sample size. And right now, my answer is easy when you have guys that are a better option, to be frank.”The mixing-and-matching might be difficult for the individuals involved, Roberts acknowledged, “but this is the only way I feel we have a chance to win.”“I am more sensitive to it,” Roberts said of his experience as a player. “But I can’t appreciate what Matt Kemp feels as an All-Star in this current year and to now be relegated to a platoon. I can’t understand or appreciate Kenta Maeda who’s been very good for us to now go to the bullpen for the greater good. I’m very sensitive to a Brian Dozier who is going into free agency. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco last_img read more

NFL announces schedule for 2019 international games

first_imgThe NFL announced Wednesday the dates, times and locations for the 2019 international schedule with four matchups in London and one in Mexico. With several conference matchups and star players from around the league traveling abroad, each game will bring an intriguing storyline to follow.  London GamesMatchupDateTimeVenueBears vs. RaidersSunday, Oct. 61 p.m. ETTottenham Hotspur StadiumPanthers vs. BuccaneersSunday, Oct. 139:30 a.m. ETTottenham Hotspur StadiumBengals vs. RamsSunday, Oct. 271 p.m. ETWembley StadiumTexans vs. JaguarsSunday, Nov. 39:30 a.m. ETWembley StadiumThe London schedule will kick off with an intriguing game between the NFC North winning Bears and the Raiders as Chicago will bring Khalil Mack overseas to play against the team that traded him out of Oakland, while the Raiders bring a new look to their roster with Antonio Brown.The Panthers-Buccaneers matchup will feature divisional rivals as Cam Newton and Jameis Winston square off. Tampa Bay will bring a new coaching staff behind Bruce Arians, who was hired in January to replace Dirk Koetter.The Bengals-Rams game will follow with Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor going up against his former team. The Rams made the Super Bowl last season and will bring excitement with some of the league’s biggest stars, such as Todd Gurley. The Jaguars will take on Texans team led by Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt in an AFC South matchup. Jacksonville will have quarterback Nick Foles, who replaced Blake Bortles, leading the offense with hopes of getting back into playoff contention this season.Mexico Game MatchupDateTimeVenueChiefs vs. ChargersMonday, Nov. 18 8:15 pm. ET Estadio AztecaThe NFL will give a game in Mexico another shot after it was canceled last season out of concern for player safety concerns due to field conditions. The Chargers and Chiefs will travel south of the border and could be one of the best matchups out of the international schedule, with the two AFC West powerhouses battling in mid-November. The full NFL regular-season schedule is expected to be released Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.last_img read more