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See if anything sticks out about the Dodgers’ Thursday lineup against the Diamondbacks: 

Indeed, you’ll note that Mookie Betts — perhaps the best defensive corner outfielder in the game today — is starting for the juggernaut Dodgers at second base. 

As David Vassegh notes, manager Dave Roberts is making the move with an eye toward the postseason: 

And, as Roberts points out, it was all Betts’ idea: 

Right now, Betts’ Dodgers have the best record in baseball at 32-12, so it’s more than safe to assume they’ll be part of the expanded 16-team playoff field. 

As for Betts, even though he’s won four straight Gold Gloves in right field, he was drafted by the Red Sox as a shortstop out of Overton High School in Nashville. He also manned short and second early in his pro career, and in his rookie season of 2014 Betts made 14 starts at second base for Boston. 

The idea of giving Betts occasional time at second was bandied about during his final seasons with the Red Sox, and now the Dodgers are making it happen. No doubt, Betts’ athleticism, baseball smarts, and prior experience at the position will serve him well, and his elite hitting and base-running will of course play anywhere. 

The Dodgers are barreling toward their eighth straight NL West title, but there’s a great deal of pressure for them to break through and win the World Series for the first time since 1988. So this wrinkle as noted is in the service of seeking every possible advantage in October. It’s also worth noting that the Dodgers this season have struggled to get good production from the position, as Enrique Hernandez, Gavin Lux, Chris Taylor, and Max Muncy have combined to hit just .209/.290/.354 while playing second base in 2020.

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