Yasiel Puig was benched to start off Tuesday night’s Dodgers game vs. the Marlins in Miami. Puig was late arriving to the ballpark and that, coupled with some slumping play, was enough for Don Mattingly to play the “send a message” card to his star rookie.
Puig, of course, sent a message of his own in the eighth inning when he blasted the first pitch he saw from Dan Jennings over the fence in left-center to break a 4-4 tie. It was the Cuban rookie’s first homer since Aug. 1 and Los Angeles went on to win 6-4.
Somehow Puig, who’s been one of the biggest stories in baseball this season, has drawn the ire of columnists and old-school baseball folks due to his undisciplined play. Puig’s lapses on the bathpaths, be it trying to tag up on shallow fly balls or getting thrown out trying to take an extra base are the primary culprit. On Sunday night FOX’s John Paul Morosi penned an entire column about how Puig’s mental errors will end up costing the Dodgers in October.
It’s easy to pick apart and mock such columns, especially the way some writers like to hold “fundamentals” on some sort of lofty perch, as if they’re the be-all, end-all when evaluating a player. However, in the wake of how Tuesday’s game played out, Morosi seemed oddly prescient.
He’s as likely to cost the Dodgers a playoff game with a needless mistake as he is to win one on a walk-off home run.
Odds are, that’s a risk Dodgers fans are willing to take.