CHICAGO -- Chase Utley has played in seven postseasons, two World Series and has a ring. But prior to Saturday night's elimination game, what he hasn't done lately carried the day for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Utley, the Dodgers' leadoff man for nearly the entire 2016 season, was dropped to eighth in the lineup, with rookie Andrew Toles batting leadoff for the first time as a Major Leaguer. Utley went 0-for-2 in the Dodgers' 5-0 loss to the Cubs in Game 6 of the NLCS, as Chicago won the series, 4-2, to clinch a spot in the World Series.
"Giving Chase a different view from the different part of the lineup might help him get untracked a little bit," Roberts said of Utley, who is hitting 3-for-26 during this postseason. "I felt it would give Chase a different visual while keeping the defense in there for Clayton [Kershaw]. I didn't want to change that dynamic at all, but I felt strongly about getting [Toles] at the top of the order."
Roberts added that Utley has been chasing pitches.
"With Chase, I always feel there's a big hit in there. He's done it for us time and time again," Roberts said. "Not to have him in this game was not an option for me. I think for the most part, he's been going out of the strike zone. They've been going soft on him, and he's patient, but like a lot of our guys, we're getting a large amount of offspeed stuff. It's about not being afraid of going deep in the strike zone."
Toles singled off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks to open the game but was retired at second when Corey Seager immediately hit into a double play.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.