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Game 1 stud Van Slyke sits in finale

SYDNEY -- Scott Van Slyke, the unlikely offensive star in Saturday's 3-1 Dodgers win, was on the bench to start Game 2 of the Opening Series, replaced in left field by Mike Baxter.

The fact that either of them started these games was due to the paternity leave of Carl Crawford, whose fiance Evelyn Lozada gave birth to their baby on Saturday. Crawford will rejoin the club for Tuesday's workout at Dodger Stadium.

Against right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill, manager Don Mattingly put second baseman Dee Gordon in the leadoff spot, followed by right fielder Yasiel Puig. He dropped third baseman Juan Uribe to eighth and put catcher A.J. Ellis behind fifth hitter Andre Ethier, who started in center.

"For me, it's always about the combination of guys you have," said Mattingly. "We're trying to protect 'Dre with A.J. because he's hitting better."

Mattingly said replacing Van Slyke, who started against Arizona lefty Wade Miley in the opener, with Baxter against the right-hander Cahill was "the plan from the beginning."

Having handled constant questions about the logjam of four outfielders, Mattingly was unfazed when asked how he'll handle five.

"It'll be six at some point," he said. "I'm not that concerned. It just makes the bench better. We have a mixture of guys to play, and it will keep everybody going in the right direction."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
Read More: Los Angeles Dodgers, Mike Baxter, Scott Van Slyke