Don Mattingly said he’d do it, and he has. Here’s the Dodgers Opening Day lineup, featuring Yasiel Puig in the leadoff slot:
1. Yasiel Puig RF
2. Justin Turner 2B
3. Hanley Ramirez SS
4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
5. Scott Van Slyke LF
6. Juan Uribe 3B
7. Andre Ethier CF
8. A.J. Ellis C
9. Clayton Kershaw P
Of course Puig batted leadoff a good bit last season. When he did, he hit better than he did in other lineup slots, if that means anything. Bonus lineup fact: Don Mattingly is compelled by the Rule of National League Managers to bat his second baseman second. Seriously: it’s a more immutable natural law than Thermodynamics and stuff.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.