After beginning the season as a potential MVP candidate, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is in the midst of the biggest slump of his career.
Since August 4th, the All-Star outfielder is hitting .183 with zero home runs and just five RBIs in 30 games. Manager Don Mattingly has moved Puig up and down the lineup, and given him days off to try and jumpstart his young star.
According to Anthony Witrado of ESPN LA, Mattingly discussed Puig and his slump:
We need him,” Mattingly said before the game. “There is stuff going on. Guys always have stuff going on with mechanics and things, those are things they work on. But Yasiel basically has gotten us to this point. Everything we’ve tried to do so far has been trying to get him going. We’re trying to put him in a different spot [in the lineup] to get him going, or to take pressure off of him. We know we need him, and when he’s going, we’re a better team.
While the Dodgers have been able to tread water without Puig’s bat, they have gone just 16-14 during his slump. They hold a 2.5 game lead in the National League West with a big three-game series in San Francisco this weekend. Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp have been able to propel the offense, with Carl Crawford and Justin Turner also heating up recently.
During the slump, Puig’s batting average has gone from .323 to .290, pulling him out of contention for the NL batting title. He has all but eliminated himself from the MVP race, while teammate Clayton Kershaw has become a frontrunner for the award. The Dodgers will need Puig to return to his early season levels if they plan to repeat as NL West champions.
With just a handful of games left, time is running out for the 23-year-old to figure it out.
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