Dee Gordon: A Dodgers experiment still developing
The Dodgers like rookie shortstop Dee Gordon so much they’re thinking about moving Rafael Furcal to second when he returns?
Yeah, well, maybe. Check back on that.
The Dodgers are just so gaga over the speedy Gordon that they’re going to keep him as their leadoff hitter?
Yeah, well, possibly. They're just not wed to it.
When Gordon is on, he can be absolutely electric. He adds an energy and sense of anticipation whenever he’s on base -- which the Dodgers otherwise lack.
Trouble is, lately getting on base has become something of an issue. Gordon has one hit in his last 23 at-bats, with a walk and seven strikeouts. His batting average, at .326 before his skid, is now down to .231.
Worse, his on-base percentage is just .254, tough duty for a leadoff hitter. He has two walks all season to 15 strikeouts.
Pitchers are challenging him. The next adjustment is on him.
Mattingly said the Dodgers have considered dropping him lower in the order, though he’s hesitant to bat him eighth.
"We’ve thought about that, too," he said. "The eight hole can be tough on a young guy. But he’s a guy they’re going to come after. They don’t want him on base."
The other alternative is to bat him ninth, ala Tony LaRussa, particularly when good-hitting pitchers Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw are pitching.
"It’s kind of a double lead-off guy," Mattingly said. "It takes a little pressure off him."
What may happen first, however, is this week when the Dodgers are at the Twins and Angels and using a designated hitter, is to bat Gordon ninth.
The Dodgers open a three-game series in Minnesota on Monday. Mattingly said he sat Gordon on Sunday against the Angels just to give him a break.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dee Gordon beats the throw to Angels catcher Jeff Mathis on June 26. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images