Roberts opts to sit Bellinger, start Hernandez

Coming off bench for Game 1, NLCS MVP Award winner joins unique club

October 23rd, 2018

BOSTON -- The Dodgers come up with postseason lineups that break dramatically from tradition.

got the leadoff start in the Dodgers' 8-4 loss in Game 1 of the World Series, the fifth leadoff hitter manager Dave Roberts has used in the past five games. Roberts said he wanted to get Dozier as many at-bats as possible against Chris Sale, because Dozier had been 12-for-47 with three homers in his career against the Red Sox lefty from his time with the Twins. Dozier went 0-for-2 with a walk against the left-hander, who lasted four-plus innings.

Then there's , who is the newest member of one of the most unique clubs in the history of baseball.

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On Tuesday, he joined Atlanta outfielder (and former Dodger) Mike Devereaux as the only other non-pitcher to win the National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award and not start Game 1 of the World Series. Devereaux, who was a primarily a bench player, made three starts during the 1995 NLCS. He drove in the game-winning run in Game 1 and hit a three-run home run in Game 4 against the Reds to win the prize. He played in five games off of the bench for the Braves in the World Series victory against the Indians.

It was a tough call for Roberts, who instead went with in center field. Hernandez started against almost all opposing lefties this year, but he was 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts in the NLCS. Hernandez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 1.

Bellinger came off the bench in the fifth, after Sale exited, and went 0-for-2.

"I thought about it," Roberts said. "For anyone that has not seen Chris Sale is tough, but to be a left-handed hitter, just makes it that much tougher and we should not compromise defense with either decision."

It's worth noting that Fred Lynn won the ALCS MVP Award for the Angels in 1982, Mike Scott won the NLCS MVP Award in '86 and Jeffrey Leonard won the NLCS MVP Award for the Giants in '87, but those honors came while playing for the losing side.

, who started five of the last six NLCS games after 's defensive meltdown in Game 1, started Game 1 of the World Series. But Roberts didn't rule out a start for Grandal before the World Series is over.

"I see it happening," Roberts said. "I don't know which game. Obviously, it's going to be predicated on how Austin is playing. That's one part of it. Seeing if there's a spot that makes sense to get Yasmani back in there. I expect him to still impact us in some way. We have some good players on the bench and I expect to use them all."