LOS ANGELES – All of the fun facts about the Dodgers’ Gavin Lux and his always-based performance on Tuesday night revolved around his youth he couldn’t hide behind his postseason mustache.
Lux made his first start on the series, doing singles twice, going twice, and confirming manager Dave Roberts’ performance as the Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2 at Dodger Stadium and the National League Division Series to a crucial game 5 on Thursday brought night in San Francisco.
The performance made his age on match day – 23 years, 323 days – relevant for the team and overall history of the postseason and for interesting facts. Not bad for someone who five weeks ago was playing at Triple-A Oklahoma City among those closer to their age. But since his September 10 recall, Lux has played a key role in the Dodgers’ pursuit of the second consecutive World Series title.
“In my opinion,” said Lux, “if you do the best for the team and that comes first, the other individual stats or something will take care of itself.”
Knowing the Dodgers would need a left-handed offensive against Giants starter Logan Webb in Game 5, Roberts said of Lux: “He’s going to play; he’ll be in there. “
Well, some of the notable numbers from Lux’s appearance on Tuesday:
• Lux became the third youngest dodger to hit the base four or more times in a post-season game without the help of a mistake. Only James Loney (22 years, 153 days) and Yasiel Puig (23 and 300 days) were younger.
• Lux was the seventh youngest on a team, reaching base four or more times when his team was eliminated.
When the teams meet again at Oracle Park, Lux’s production will be just as important.
With Max Muncy from that series with a left elbow injury, the Dodgers have a strong right-handed positional group when Roberts goes outfield with a veteran line-up with AJ Pollock.
Lux mostly plays the middle infield, but his speed and experience in the middle of the diamond make him a viable midfielder on the defensive. Tuesday only marked his seventh career start in this position.
Roberts didn’t commit to a position for Lux on Thursday. Oracle Park has a voluminous midfield, but Roberts trusts Lux wherever he plays him.
Lux made the start of Game 4 a day after pinch-hitting a drive into midfield in the ninth inning that would likely have sent the game into extra innings on Monday if the winds weren’t insane for Dodger Stadium would have been strong.
His offensive performance on Tuesday began when he got Anthony DeSclafani the first pitch of the second inning through the right side for a single and eventually hit Chris Taylor’s sacrificial fly. Jarlín García ran Lux in the third, Dominic Leone left in the fifth and Zack Littell delivered a single in the sixth.
This work has been consistent for Lux since his return from Oklahoma City. He hit .360 and had .467 on base percentage in his last 17 regular season games.
“That’s really been the whole mindset since I was given the option – come back here, stay on the ground, take good bats, and just try to be honest,” said Lux.
Lux didn’t score until the second as the Dodgers spent much of the game trying not to take their chances. Still, his work was part of an offensive intransigence that eventually led to a comfortable lead late on.
“I just love the heartbeat, the serenity,” said Roberts. “If you just watch him play bats, it’s like a guy who played a lot more than him in the postseason. Despite the results, he had a great night. But how he behaved in this environment is very instructive. “