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Dodgers call late audible, move Kike’ Hernandez to left, Joc Pederson to DH for Game 3

By in Press Enterprise on October 28, 2017

By Bill Plunkett

HOUSTON — Dave Roberts thought about his starting lineup for Game 3, the first in this World Series that would feature a DH.

And then he thought about it again.

The Dodgers manager originally had Joc Pederson in left field against Houston Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. and Kike’ Hernandez at DH. In the last 90 minutes before game time, Roberts decided to switch the two, moving Pederson to DH and putting Hernandez in left field.

“It just gives us a little more versatility if Kike’ needs to move around the diamond,” Roberts said by way of explanation.

The switch made sense on a lot of levels. Hernandez was more likely to change positions in a double switch, something that would cost the Dodgers the DH if he started in that position. He also has more familiarity with the outfield at Minute Maid Park – which Roberts described as “a little quirky” even after the elimination of Tal’s Hill in center field. Hernandez played eight games in left field for the Astros in 2014 and another 11 in center field before he was traded to the Miami Marlins.

Hernandez and Logan Forsythe each got rare starts against a right-handed pitcher. During his career, McCullers has been “a reverse-splits guy” – he is more effective against lefties (a .232 average and .635 OPS) than righties (a .253 average and .744 OPS).

In Hernandez’s case, Roberts said he had earned a start with the quality of his at-bats during the postseason – which included three hits in five at-bats against right-handed pitchers before Game 3.

“It’s not even the results. It’s the at-bat quality,” Roberts said. “He’s staying in the strike zone. He’s using the whole field. And now the history of this guy is righties hit him better. And it’s not the slider, it’s the curveball. I think […]    

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