6/3/2014 2:20 A.M. ET
Dodgers playing percentages with infield shifts
By Michael Lananna / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- In Sunday night's 5-3 loss to the Pirates, a couple of steps cost the Dodgers a couple of runs.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the first, the Dodgers employed an infield shift, shading to the right and playing the left-handed-hitting Pedro Alvarez to pull.
He didn't pull. Alvarez poked a ground ball just past the ranging Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, allowing two Pirates to score off of right-hander Zack Greinke.
Was the shift a mistake?
"At that very point? I don't like it very much," manager Don Mattingly said. "But I think the shifting -- you're basically playing percentages. A lot of times you're pitching to that."
Greinke, despite the fact those two runs were charged to him, echoed his manager's sentiments.
"If the data shows that he hits the ball up the middle, then you've got to play up the middle," he said. "If the data shows he hits the ball to second on the pull side, then you've got to play three guys on one side. If the data shows he hits it to shortstop, then you'll play at shortstop.
"It depends on what the data shows. I like the shift for the most part."
Still, Greinke said he doesn't try to cater to the shift when he pitches. He said he continues to pitch to his strengths.
"If you look at Alvarez, if you throw the ball a couple of inches off the plate away, he still pulls the ball for the most part," Greinke said. "So, a lot of times, you shift for guys when they do that no matter what."
Turner thriving with consistent playing time
LOS ANGELES -- Consistency once proved elusive for a young Justin Turner.
It took him a couple of years to find the right formula, the right regimen for the 162-game grind that is the regular season. Now, the 29-year-old has begun to find it, and it couldn't have come at a better time for a Dodgers team that is without everyday third baseman Juan Uribe.
In the 20 games since Uribe tweaked his hamstring on May 8, Turner is batting .339 with 20 hits, 11 runs, five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs in 59 at-bats.
"I feel good. I feel comfortable," Turner said. "It's always nice to have a consistent number of ABs every day. It's a little bit different mindset going in when you know you're going to get four or five at-bats, as opposed to you might only get one."
Turner supplied the majority of the Dodgers' offense in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Pirates, driving in Matt Kemp with a single up the middle, then later homering to left-center. In Monday night's 5-2 win over the White Sox, Turner drove in two more runs with a two-out single in during a five-run sixth.
"He's had some big hits for us," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's been solid at third. I think we just have to be careful with him playing too many days in a row. So we'll be careful with that, but he's been good."
Mattingly emphasized not overplaying Turner -- something he felt he did with infielder Nick Punto last season. But Turner is confident he's found the right routine to stay fresh off of the bench.
"I think now, being a little older, it's a little easier to maintain a routine and realize the importance of a routine," Turner said, "and getting your work in and making sure everything's feeling good and going about your business in that way to try to sustain that good feeling at the plate."
Mattingly changes up lineup against left-hander
LOS ANGELES -- With left-hander Jose Quintana (3-4, 3.61 ERA) taking the mound for the White Sox in Monday's series opener, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made a few tweaks to his starting nine.
Left-handed regulars second baseman Dee Gordon and center fielder Andre Ethier each got the night off against the Chicago southpaw. In Gordon's stead, switch-hitter Chone Figgins manned second base and slide into the leadoff spot. Meanwhile, Scott Van Slyke -- and not Matt Kemp -- started in center field, with Kemp playing left field and batting in the No. 2 slot behind Figgins.
"We look at Scott and Dre as kind of the same guy," Mattingly said. "Both guys aren't really typical center fielders, but they make good reads, good jumps, fundamentally sound out there."
As for Kemp, Mattingly said the two-hole could provide the left fielder with better pitches to hit in front of the hot-hitting Yasiel Puig. Kemp had hits in each of his last two games.
"I felt like I'd give Matt the extra at-bat," Mattingly said. "It puts him in a good place behind Figgy, and he'll hopefully see good pitches to hit behind Yasiel. He swung the bat, got a hit yesterday. He swung the bat good the day before, so hopefully he has a chance to get rolling."
• Dodgers reliever Chris Withrow will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Penascola, Fla. The surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews.
• Mattingly said left fielder Carl Crawford is progressing well from his ankle injury, which landed him on the 15-day disabled list May 27. He said it's possible Crawford may only need 15 days to return.
"He looks good," Mattingly said. "This is Day 6. He's out here swinging, doing a little bit of running. I don't think he's perfect yet by any means, but everything looks positive so far."
• Monday's game marks a full year in the Majors for Puig, who debuted on June 3 last season. Puig has reached base in 33 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the Majors.
• The Dodgers' bullpen provided scoreless relief in seven of its last nine games, dating back to May 23. The bullpen has a 1.57 ERA in that span, holding opponents to a .152 average.
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.