In what was by far the craziest game of the season Monday night, Trayce Thompson was the man who put the final stamp on the Dodgers’ 9-8 walk-off win, drawing the bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 12th inning to close it out.
For Thompson, it had to feel good to finally contribute something positive to this team. Since his three-home-run, eight-RBI season debut back on April 1, Thompson has hit just 4-for-52 (.077) with one home run and four runs batted in. Of those 52 at-bats, 29 of them have ended in a strikeout.
Thompson, however, has continued to get opportunities, especially against left-handed pitching (for some reason).
While he’s been okay against righties, slashing .217/.357/.609 with a stellar .966 OPS in 28 plate appearances, he’s been abysmal against lefties, slashing .061/.244/.152 with an OPS of .395.
As our own Clint Pasillas wrote over the weekend, the Dodgers are (for some reason) being stubborn with Thompson, trying to force him to hit lefties when he just can’t.
It makes sense why he isn’t playing against righties, considering they have better options in James Outman, David Peralta and Jason Heyward in the outfield — but if that’s the case, you would assume he would have no place on this team.
However, after Monday’s game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made it clear that Trayce isn’t going anywhere just yet.
“The truth is, he’s great on the team, but he has a certain role on our ball club,” Roberts said. “And we’re giving him as much leash and opportunity as we can to fill that role and he’s doing everything he can to this ball club.”
Trayce is a great guy, and I understand that the Dodgers have a lot of history with him. But if he’s not helping you win games, it’s hard to understand why he’s still on the team, especially when they need more help against left-handed pitching.
But nevertheless, the Dodgers are remaining stubborn with Thompson, hoping he works his way out of these struggles.
“It’s tough, but that’s baseball,” Thompson said after Monday’s game. “You just kind of take the good with the bad. I feel like this is the ultimate sport where if you kind of let things affect the other, it can drag along for a long time. So, just try to be optimistic about each day and try to help these guys win a game.”
To his credit, he did what he needed to do on Monday night, drawing the walk-off walk in the bottom of the 12th inning. To play devil’s advocate, though, he only saw one strike, and still made it close. But beggars can’t be choosers, and it’s better to be happy for Trayce for having this moment.
We can hope that this sparks Thompson to start playing better, knowing he had a walk-off moment for the team. But if it doesn’t, and we continue to see Trayce struggle, the Dodgers have to make a move to help this team win. And that move is a three-letter acronym starting with ‘D’ and ending in ‘A’ with an ‘F’ in the middle. But hopefully Trayce proves us wrong.
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