By Jon Weisman
Though it came in a loss, this might be the night that the calls for Trayce Thompson to play every day reached a critical mass.
Two home runs by Thompson nearly helped the Dodgers overcome subpar outings by Kenta Maeda and Pedro Baez, but the Dodgers ultimately fell a run short and lost a Monday marathon — four hours in all — to the Angels, 7-6.
Both of Thompson’s home runs came off right-handed pitchers (Matt Shoemaker and Mike Morin), meaning that he has now homered six times in his career against right-handed pitching, in 105 at-bats against them, for a slugging percentage of .505. Three of Thompson’s five May homers have come against righties.
Of course, Thompson wouldn’t have had those at-bats if Dave Roberts hadn’t shown more willingness to play Thompson against righties, citing particular matchups. If Thompson is to play more against righties, it would come at the expense of Yasiel Puig, whose defense remains spectacular and whose bat is always on the verge of explosive, or Carl Crawford, who has struggled this year but did drive in the Dodgers’ first run tonight with a two-out single.
Small-sample size remains an issue. But with Thompson OPSing .949 and homering once every 12 at-bats this season, he is making his case.