I should preface this by saying that no, I don’t really think Skip Schumaker is going to end up starting in center field in Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday. My guess is that unless Matt Kemp is completely unable to walk, he’ll force his way into the lineup no matter how sore his ankle is, especially since it sounds more “concerning” than it is “serious”.
But we should know by now that Kemp’s health absolutely cannot be counted on, and Andre Ethier seems more likely to be left off the roster entirely than to be in the starting lineup thanks to his own injury concerns, and Yasiel Puig is not only a hilarious adventure in center, but may have a sore foot of his own after fouling a ball off his foot… and suddenly you realize that it’s not all that hard to envision a scenario where the Dodgers have to go with Schumaker in center field to start the playoffs.
If so, then you sort of hope the Dodgers play St. Louis (with their all-righty starting rotation) than Atlanta (which has lefty Mike Minor likely to start Game 1 and may use Paul Maholm as well), because Schumaker’s platoon splits are well-known. Defensively, the metrics peg him as a below-average outfielder, but he’s also an atrocious second baseman, so anything that keeps him out of the infield is probably a good thing.
Anyway, this is all premature, because if I were to put money on it, I’d expect Kemp to go in the playoffs no matter what. But Schumaker started in center last night and is likely to do so again today — unless Nick Buss gets a final look — and we’re far, far too close to the idea of him being the man in October than I imagine any of us are comfortable with.
Get well soon, Matt. You too, Andre. Quick.