04/22/12 2:50 PM ET
After three-hit night, Gordon back in lineup
By Gene Duffey / Special to MLB.com
Day after homer, Loney out vs. lefty Wandy
HOUSTON -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gave left-handed-hitting first baseman James Loney the day off Sunday, despite the fact that Loney hit his first home run of the season in Saturday night's 5-1 win over the Astros."This is a little bit more of a matchup," Mattingly said of the Dodgers facing Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. "James is like 3-for-17 off Wandy. Obviously, he isn't seeing him that good. Today is a little more of a right-handed lineup for us. "And a little bit is continuing for James getting rolling. Looking at projected starters over the next three weeks, there's a lot of right-handers in there. He's swinging the bat better." Mattingly believes in using his entire 25-man roster and rotating days off for his regulars. But the one player who can stay in the lineup as long as he wants is outfielder Matt Kemp, who leads the National League in hits, runs, homers and batting average entering Sunday. "Matt doesn't want a day off," Mattingly said. "Matt's played in how many straight. I've tried to say, 'If you need a day.' And he'll say, 'I'll let you know.' And he never lets me know. He pretty much wants to go every day. What I'll do with Matt is get him out of the game if we get one of those games that's out of hand." Kemp has played in 381 consecutive games. "He doesn't ever look like he needs a day [off]," Mattingly said. "But there's got to be days, those trips where you get in at 3 in the morning and you've got a game that night. I know those are rough days for guys. Especially for a guy who is playing 162. And maybe he's not swinging the bat great and you know mentally he's getting worn down. But he doesn't want it and seems to handle it fine. There's no reason to force one." Mattingly's biggest concern is players getting injured. "Guys just keep going, thinking they're going to get through it," he said. "I did it myself. 'I'll be all right.' You keep going and going and you end up missing two weeks. We're all hard headed. You run a marathon and things hurt all the time and you go, 'I'll be all right. I'll work through it.' Next thing you know you need knee surgery. You've got to listen to your body, and sometimes [players] don't." Mattingly also values the opinion of left-handed-hitting outfielder Andre Ethier, his other hot hitter. Kemp and Ethier have combined for 43 RBIs, which tied the Major League record after 15 games set by Alex Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu with the Yankees in 2007. "I want to pick some left-handers to give [Ethier] a breather," Mattingly said. "I'm going to listen to Andre. [He] knows if he doesn't see a lefty good, he knows that a matchup is not good for him. He knows if a guy gives him trouble. "These two are on a record pace. I don't want to break momentum for those two guys.
Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.