Gordon returns to leadoff spot for finale

Gordon returns to leadoff spot for finale

Gordon returns to leadoff spot for finale
DENVER -- In an effort to reclaim a sense of normalcy, manager Don Mattingly put Dee Gordon back in the leadoff spot for Sunday's rubber match with the Rockies.

Gordon led off the bulk of the team's games early in the season, and the Dodgers posted a 22-11 record. Over the past three weeks, Mattingly has experimented with three different leadoff hitters, but he believes the club is best suited with Gordon first in the box.

"I always want to get him back there," Mattingly said of Gordon. "To my eye, it seemed like the last couple weeks he's looked pretty good. But I didn't want to just go by that, so I looked at his numbers, and he's really been better. He's been over .300 the last 10 days. His on-base has been up. I think it gives him so much more freedom. If he can be that guy up at the top, it gives us a better balance, better offense."

Gordon is hitting .308 (12-for-39) since moving to the eight hole over his last 11 games, including a .444 stretch during a five-game hitting streak that ended Monday. But the club is 4-7 with him hitting eighth.

Mattingly just wants to see Gordon on base, where his speed can come into play to disrupt the game plan of opposing pitchers. Otherwise, Mattingly has refrained from giving the second-year shortstop too much advice.

"When I talked to him to tell him I was thinking of putting him back up there, I know he was excited," Mattingly said. "I'm trying to get my lineup regulated a little bit and get a little closer to some type of normalcy on a daily basis. I hope it gives him a jolt. We'll see what happens."

For a young player like Gordon, 24, the abundance of well-meaning advice can end up being overwhelming. Even Mattingly has been getting texts with all kind of advice for Gordon, including some he believes were examples of drunk texting.

"[Dee] is a real respectful kid," Mattingly said. "When you get that, you get a guy that will listen. And then you start getting a lot of voices. Everybody wants to help you."