Dodgers tweak lineup to adjust to Braves left-hander Newcomb

October 7, 2018
Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the third inning of Game 1 of a baseball National League Division Series on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers put left fielder Chris Taylor in the leadoff position and sat Yasiel Puig as manager Dave Roberts adjusted his lineup to face Atlanta Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Sunday night.

The right-handed hitting Taylor is taking the spot of the left-handed hitting Joc Pederson in the lineup.

Another right-handed hitter, David Freese, is playing first base instead of Max Muncy and hitting third. Also, Matt Kemp is taking the place of Puig in right field and hitting fifth.

Kemp, who played for the Braves in 2016-17, hit 11 homers in 183 at-bats against left-handers. He hit 10 homers in 279 at-bats against right-handers. Freese hit .321 against left-handers and .273 against right-handers.

“To get Kemp, Freese, Taylor back involved against a starter like Newcomb, I think it gives us the best chance to win,” Roberts said.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said the lineup moves reflect the depth of the Dodgers’ bench.

“It just goes to the depth of their team when you can do that,” Snitker said. “I mean, they have five guys on their bench that could be everyday players for a lot of teams. And the fact that they can just flip a whole lineup like that again shows the depth and the quality of club that they have.”

Roberts said the depth helped keep his players fresh through a long season.

“The versatility lends itself to overcoming 162 games ... and keeps guys sharp mentally and physically,” Roberts said.

Newcomb is starting ahead of veteran right-hander Kevin Gausman, who will be available in the bullpen. Newcomb nearly pitched a no-hitter against Los Angeles in July, and the Dodgers have beaten right-handers in the first two games of the series.

The Braves are staying with rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. as their leadoff hitter but Snitker is moving Ender Inciarte into the No. 2 spot. Third baseman Johan Camargo, who hit second in Game 2, is hitting fifth.

Otherwise, the Braves’ lineup remains unchanged.

The Dodgers lead the best-of-five series 2-0. The Braves must win to force a Game 4 on Monday.


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