Dodgers empty the bench against Pirates

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Sure, the team has only played twice so far and already got Tuesday off, but with the Dodgers playing this afternoon following a game last night manager Joe Torre has given regulars Manny Ramirez, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Casey Blake, and Blake DeWitt the day off.
That means Reed Johnson, Brad Ausmus, Garret Anderson, Jamey Carroll, and Ronnie Belliard are all in the lineup together against the Pirates, which might seem a little unfair to starter Chad Billingsley.
1 – Rafael Furcal, SS
2 – Reed Johnson, LF
3 – Matt Kemp – CF
4 – James Loney – 1B
5 – Ronnie Belliard – 3B
6 – Garret Anderson – RF
7 – Jamey Carroll – 2B
8 – Brad Ausmus – C
Billingsley doesn’t have anything close to the best possible offense or defense behind him, but then again playing the Pirates probably cancels all of that out and if Torre was really feeling generous towards a team that’s trying to get off to an unlikely 3-0 start after not having a winning season since 1992 he’d just go ahead and spot them a few runs.

Video: Christian Yelich leads MLB in home runs again

Christian Yelich
AP Images
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Tied at a league-leading 10 home runs apiece with Cody Bellinger and Khris Davis, it wasn’t long before Brewers slugger Christian Yelich set himself apart from the competition yet again. During the bottom of the first inning on Friday, the 2018 NL MVP singled out the first pitch he saw from the Dodgers’ Ross Stripling — an 86.5-m.p.h. slider just wide of the strike zone — and returned it to the second deck seats in right field for his 11th home run of 2019.

While Bellinger and Davis will undoubtedly continue to make it difficult for Yelich to claim sole honors at the top of the leaderboard, the 27-year-old outfielder has had a banner year so far. Through the first three weeks of the season, he’s batting a strong .354/.447/.823 with 15 extra-base hits, 29 RBI, and three stolen bases across 94 plate appearances. The 29 RBI (27 entering Friday’s game) he collected between March and April eclipsed Prince Fielder’s previous franchise record of 26 RBI — and there’s no telling how much higher that total will rise by the end of the month, too.

Even with the benefit of Yelich’s immense talents, however, the Brewers are just clinging to a first-place tie with the Pirates atop the NL Central. They dropped their last two games to the Cardinals and Dodgers, respectively, and will need to overturn the remainder of their series against LA to build up their division lead again. They’re currently tied 2-2 with the Dodgers in the seventh.