Mattingly gives struggling Gordon day off

Mattingly gives struggling Gordon day off

HOUSTON -- Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon was not in the starting lineup for Friday night's game at Houston. Justin Sellers started at shortstop in place of Gordon and batted leadoff.

"You're obviously going to choose a lefty to give Dee a day [off]," Dodgers manager Don Mattlingly said of left-hander J.A. Happ starting for the Astros.

"Dee's been fighting it a little bit," Mattingly said.

Gordon, who has started 12 games this season and played in all 13, is hitting .192 with two doubles and two RBIs.

"I want him to watch a game and slow down a little bit," Mattingly said. "It's easy to play Justin because I know I don't lose anything defensively. He's probably as good as anybody we've got anywhere on the field. He'll give you good at-bats."

Mattingly said that Gordon was not happy the last time he told Gordon that he was giving his shortstop a day off.

"He wants to play," Mattingly said. "If I would say, 'You're not playing tomorrow,' he would be mad. You can see when a young guy's pushing too hard. He's trying to force the action.

"You know what's going through his mind. You've been there. He sees .200 on the board, even though it's only 40 at-bats, they see that number up there. Well, they can't change [the batting average] today. They want to change it right now. They want to get 10 hits today to get it back where they feel it's respectable. He just needs to keep it in perspective.

"He's been good some days, not good some days. He does some really good things. He's going to get better. That's the thing you've got to look at. He has to give himself a new start. You may have to do that three or four times a year, in my mind. You're going to go good, then have a down period. Forget it. It's over. Numbers get in your head and they change your game. You can't let numbers change your game."

Sellers rewarded Mattlingly's confidence by singling to open Friday night's game and scoring on Matt Kemp's homer.