The Dodgers offense turned in a strong performance during Game Five, hitting four home runs in a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals. Los Angeles has used the same lineup in three straight games, placing left-handed hitters Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier back-to-back at the fourth and fifth spots in the order.
Mattingly has liked the protection Ethier has given Gonzalez, but doesn't want to leave his offense vulnerable during the late innings against Cardinals relievers Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist. He discussed the situation with the media, telling Gurnick:
"The one thing I've liked about [the current lineup] is that we've seen they've pitched to Adrian. When we have Yasiel back there with the right- handers, they were going straight to Yasiel and kind of doing that.
Since we've put Andre back there, we've seen [Adam] Wainwright pitch to him. Andre has pretty good numbers off him. It seems like they have a little bit more fear right now of Andre with their righties than they do of Yasiel. So really that was a move more to protect Adrian. But there is possibly a way to do it, still protecting Adrian. We're talking about something a little bit different."
Right-handed starter Michael Wacha is scheduled to throw Game Six for St. Louis; the rookie tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Dodgers lineup that did not include Ethier.
The Dodgers could switch Gonzalez with Hanley Ramirez, but the shortstop has been battling a rib injury since being plunked a Joe Kelly fastball in Game One. Yasiel Puig or A.J. Ellis could also move up in the lineup.