Dodgers NLDS Game 5: Roberts Names Will Smith Starting Catcher, Martin Sits
At Dodger Stadium for what could be the final time in 2019, Will Smith will be getting jiggy with the starting line up.
I already apologize for that line.
Yesterday, manager Dave Roberts announced that rookie catcher Will Smith will be in the starting lineup over Russell Martin. The Dodger offense, which has been off and on anemic in this series, was given a jolt by the 36 year-old Martin in game 3. While the veteran was in the lineup more for his rapport with Cy Young hopeful Hyun-Jin Ryu, he proved to be a difference maker with 2 hits and 4 RBI in a legendary performance.
Will Smith will catch tomorrow. Roberts said he hasn't decided if fellow rookies Gavin Lux and Matt Beaty will also start. All three rookies started in Game 4.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) October 8, 2019
Smith has struggled offensively in the series, hitting to the tune of a .111 average (1-9) but with 3 walks. While the rookies carried Los Angeles through the summer, the veterans have outperformed them in the first 4 games of the NLDS.
Martin is batting .500. David Freese is batting .571 while taking advantage of mostly pinch hitting duty. Surprisingly, Enrique Hernandez has picked up only 3 at-bats in this series while the 21 year-old Gavin Lux has started 3 of 4 games.
That marks something of a new look for Dave Roberts and the front office who usually tend to rely on guys that have “been there.” Hernandez in particular has received 107 postseason plate appearances since joining LA in 2015.
Nevertheless, the Dodgers appear poised to ride or die with the rookies rather than the battle tested veterans. Hopefully “the computers” pull some magic out against Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg.