Should Scott Van Slyke start Game 2 over Skip Schumaker?

ScottVanSlykeSwing

Skip Schumaker filled in admirably for Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp during yesterday’s Game 1 win in the 2013 NLDS. He was never a real threat to make an impact, but he didn’t cost the Dodgers anything, and there was real value in that.

Going into Game 2, however, it’s a different story because the Braves are going with lefty Mike Minor. Minor is good against anybody, but he’s slightly better against lefties for his career (.722 OPS/.687 OPS). That poses a problem for Schumaker, who has a career .534 OPS against lefties versus .752 against righties, a gigantic split. He’s actually been alright this year (.671 OPS/.632 OPS), but I’m going to go with 517 plate appearances of evidence over 60.

My suggested alternative to running Skip out there anyway is giving Scott Van Slyke a shot. Van Slyke actually has a bit of a reverse platoon split in his brief MLB career (.741 OPS/.705 OPS), but he didn’t have a split in the minors over the last three years (1.021 OPS/1.036 OPS). So it’s not so much about how good he is against lefties, but rather how terrible Schumaker usually is against them. Offensively, this is a no-brainer.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that, as such a move would involve moving Yasiel Puig to center, where he’s been extremely shaky in a small sample, but given that Schumaker has limited range out there as it is, and has been prone to gaffes himself, I’m not overly concerned. The defense does take a hit as a result of going from Puig to SVS in right, so it’s a risk, but I’ll take the ~200 OPS advantage and hope the two outfielders can step it up defensively.

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