Dodgers Notes: Offensive reversal of fortunes against left-handers

first_imgChris Taylor was the Dodgers’ best hitter against lefties in April, but he started the season in Triple-A. His plate appearances against lefties have doubled in May. Cody Bellinger didn’t debut until April 25; his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage are all higher against lefties than righties. Veteran lefty killer Franklin Gutierrez is healthy again.Meanwhile, some of the team’s weakest hitters against lefties have been minimized. Adrian Gonzalez spent much of May on the disabled list. Scott Van Slyke is in Triple-A. Andrew Toles’ season is over.But that fails to explain how nearly every hitter on the roster has improved his numbers against lefties month over month. Only third baseman Justin Turner — now on the disabled list himself — saw his wOBA against lefties fall from April to May.“I think just as contagious as it was not good last year,” Ward said, “it was just as contagious as it got better this year.”Segedin SurgeryOn the disabled list with a toe injury, Rob Segedin will have surgery next Wednesday to remove a bone spur from his right wrist. Segedin developed pain in the wrist while rehabbing in Arizona.Segedin is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks after the surgery, plenty of time for the injured toe to heal. He was 1 for 4 in two games with the Dodgers before suffering the injury on April 18.“We just felt it was best that he take care of it and come back some time before the end of the season,” Manager Dave Roberts said.Waiver pickupsThe Dodgers claimed two players with big-league experience on waivers from the Seattle Mariners on Friday – right-hander Chris Heston and infielder Mike Freeman. Both were assigned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.Heston, 29, was 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 starts for the San Francisco Giants in 2015, including a no-hitter against the New York Mets at Citi Field. He has dealt with injuries and a shift to the bullpen since then and was traded to the Mariners in December.Freeman, 29, has played eight positions in the minor leagues (everywhere but catcher) during a career that includes 37 major-league games with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Mariners over the past two seasons.With Heston and Freeman added to the 40-man roster, left-hander Scott Kazmir (hip) and outfielder Toles (knee) were moved to the 60-day DL.AlsoRoberts said he is optimistic Turner will be ready to return from his hamstring injury “somewhere near that date” when he is eligible to come off the DL. Turner can be activated as soon as Monday. Roberts said it will be up to Turner whether he feels the need to go on a rehab assignment in the minors.Right-hander Brock Stewart is scheduled to start his season by making one appearance with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga this weekend and then move up to Triple-A. Stewart has been sidelined since developing shoulder tendinitis this spring.Staff writer Bill Plunkett contributed to this story Through Thursday, the Dodgers own a higher weighted On Base Average (wOBA) against lefties (.370) than against righties (.336) in May. That .370 wOBA ranks fifth in MLB. Their .285 wOBA against lefties in April ranked 25th.It’s a truly stunning reversal. This is the same Dodgers team that went 5-7 against left-handed starters in April. In 2016, the Dodgers were two games under .500 when a lefty started and 69-47 when a righty started. The calendar flipped, and so did the offensive profile of an entire lineup.“As my eyes look at it and see it, there’s improvement, no doubt,” Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward said, though even he was surprised by how dramatic the statistical improvement had been.Ward believes there’s no magic bullet. Maybe, he said, seeing more left-handed opponents early in the season paid off in the long run. Maybe hitters just needed time to make adjustments against lefties.Or maybe it has more to do with the Dodgers’ front office, and the players they’ve shuffled on and off the active roster. @JPHoornstra On TwitterLOS ANGELES >> The last time the Dodgers played the Chicago Cubs, the reigning champs realigned their rotation so two left-handed pitchers would face the Dodgers in a four-game series at Wrigley Field.The Cubs made a slight adjustment earlier this week in anticipation of their visit to Dodger Stadium this weekend. Jon Lester was kept on his five-day schedule despite a rainout affording Cubs manager Joe Maddon an opportunity to shuffle things again. Lester will be the Cubs’ only southpaw starter to face the Dodgers when he starts the finale of the three-game series Sunday (matched up against Clayton Kershaw).Even if Maddon wanted to disrupt his rotation, would he?center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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