Lux earns longer look: 'He's going to play'

Starting in CF, 23-year-old reaches base 4 times to help Dodgers extend NLDS

October 13th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- All the fun facts about the Dodgers’ and his always-on-base performance Tuesday night centered on his youth, which he could not hide behind his postseason beard.

Making his first start of the series, Lux singled twice, walked twice and confirmed manager Dave Roberts’ lineup hunch as the Dodgers beat the Giants, 7-2, at Dodger Stadium and pushed the National League Division Series to a deciding Game 5 on Thursday night in San Francisco.

The performance made his game-day age -- 23 years, 323 days -- relevant in team and overall postseason history and trivia. Not bad for someone who was playing among those closer to his age at Triple-A Oklahoma City as recently as five weeks ago. But since his Sept. 10 recall, Lux has played his way into a key role as the Dodgers pursue a second straight World Series title.

“In my mind," Lux said, "if you do what's best for the team and that comes first, the other individual statistics, or any of that, will take care of itself.”

With the Dodgers knowing they’ll need left-handed offense against Giants starter Logan Webb in Game 5, Roberts said of Lux, “He’s going to play; he’ll be in there.”

Webb held the Dodgers scoreless for 7 2/3 innings in the Giants’ 4-0 victory in Game 1. Lux grounded out as a pinch-hitter against him in the eighth.

Now, some of the notable numbers from Lux’s performance Tuesday:

• Lux became the third-youngest Dodger to reach base four or more times -- without aid of an error -- in a postseason game. Only James Loney (22 years, 153 days) and Yasiel Puig (23 and 300 days) were younger.

• Lux became the seventh-youngest on any team to reach base four or more times when his team faced elimination.

When the teams meet again at Oracle Park, Lux’s production will be every bit as important.

With out of this series with a left elbow injury, the Dodgers have a heavily right-handed-hitting position player group if Roberts goes with a veteran lineup that includes in the outfield.

Lux mostly plays the middle infield, but his speed and experience in the middle of the diamond makes him a viable center fielder defensively. Tuesday marked just his seventh career start at that position.

Roberts didn’t commit to a position for Lux on Thursday. Oracle Park has a voluminous center field, but Roberts trusts Lux wherever he plays him.

Lux made the Game 4 start one day after he appeared as a pinch-hitter and crushed a ninth-inning drive to center field that likely would have sent Monday’s game into extra innings if not for wind freakishly strong for Dodger Stadium.

His offensive performance on Tuesday began when he grounded Anthony DeSclafani’s first pitch of the second inning through the right side for a single and eventually scored on ’s sacrifice fly. Jarlín García walked Lux in the third, Dominic Leone walked him in the fifth and Zack Littell yielded a single in the sixth.

Such work has been consistent for Lux since his return from Oklahoma City. He batted .360 and had a .467 on-base percentage in his final 17 regular-season games.

“That's really been the whole mindset since I got optioned -- get back here, stay on base, take good at-bats and just try to make the roster, honestly,” Lux said.

Lux scored only in the second, as the Dodgers spent much of the game not converting their chances. Still, his work was part of an offensive relentlessness that finally produced a comfortable lead late.

“I just love the heartbeat, the composure,” Roberts said. “Just watching him take at-bats, it’s like a guy that’s played in the postseason a lot more than he has. Results withstanding, he had a big night. But how he’s conducted himself in this setting is very telling.”