Ethier has pinch-hit in the first two games of the NLDS, but before yesterday’s game, Mattingly said he could see an expanded role and even play the field. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Ethier will be in center field unless the Dodgers advance to the NLCS according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
Mattingly: “It would be a great surprise” if Ethier played in outfield in NLDS. #Dodgers
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 5, 2013
Sidelined since September 13 with an irritated ankle/shin, Ethier was questionable to make the Dodgers postseason roster. Skip Schumaker has been filling for Ethier, but hasn’t made much of an impact yet.
Without Matt Kemp, the Dodgers relied on Ethier for much of the season in center field and he rewarded them with a solid season offensively and defensively. He hit .272 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI and Dee Gordon was added to the postseason roster to pinch-run for him if he were to get on base.
The Dodgers return home with the series tied at one as they had several chances to breakthrough last night, but double plays and questionable decisions from Mattingly loomed large in their 4-3 loss.
Hyun-Jin Ryu will make his scheduled start tomorrow against Braves rookie Julio Teheran as the Dodgers left-handed rookie pitches significantly better at home. Hopefully, the Dodgers push through the NLDS without Ethier and he can assume his role in center field in the NLCS.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!