With the Dodgers now down 3 games to 1 and on the brink of elimination in the 2013 NLCS, Skip Schumaker, Michael Young and Scott Van Slyke are each hitting .000 in the series.
Identical stats, you say?
Schumaker, who was signed by the Dodgers during the off-season for his post-season experience and his veteran leadership, is 0 for 5 in the NLCS with one strikeout. He also grounded into a monumental pinch-hit double play in the bottom of the 4th inning on Tuesday night that absolutely slammed the door on a 1-out / 2-run rally that produced the only runs that the Dodgers would score in the eventual 4-2 loss to the Cardinals.
Young, who was picked up by the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline for his post-season experience, his veteran leadership and because he is a “professional hitter,” is 0 for 5 in the NLCS and has seen a grand total of 18 pitches in his 5 at bats (an average of 3.6 pitches per at bat) which is a bit low for someone touted as being a “professional hitter.” He hit into two back-breaking double plays in Game-1 of the NLCS after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly removed Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers leading run producer, for pinch runner Dee Gordon in the 8th inning of a tied game that ended up going 13 innings with Young playing first base in AGon’s stead.
Van Slyke, who was included on the NLCS roster as the only power bat off the bench and utility outfielder, never saw one single pitch in the series… not one. He had zero at bats. (The good news is that he didn’t hit into any double plays).
During batting practice before Monday’s and Tuesday’s games at Dodger Stadium, Van Slyke absolutely crushed the ball, hitting no less that six or seven BP home runs each day – including one that nearly cleared the Left Field Pavilion roof on Tuesday afternoon. Now granted, BP pitching is nothing like actual game pitching, but still…
The point here is that Scott Van Slyke is known for his power bat and clutch pinch hitting during the regular season – none greater than his 11th inning pinch hit walk-off home run against the Diamondbacks on September 10. Yet for reasons only he knows, Mattingly never had Van Slyke pinch hit in the NLCS, not even once and certainly not when he should have in that extremely critical situation on Tuesday night in the 4th inning when Schumaker grounded into his 6-4-3 inning-ending and rally-killing double play.
So while Mattingly keeps running Schumaker and Young and their combined 0 for 10/.000 batting average out there to pinch hit in extremely critical situations and the games on the line, Scott Van Slyke sits.