Yasiel Puig’s first plate appearance of the new season did not go well. He looked completely overwhelmed as Tyson Ross fanned him on three straight pitches, and some people thought the day for the Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder wouldn’t get better. But lo and behold it did. On this day, Puig showed what could be possible.
In his second plate appearance, it looked like he was going to recreate his first one all over again. He got behind in the count, 1-2, but he didn’t panic. Puig then was able to coax a walk on six pitches in order to get on base for the first time all season. It was just a sign of what was to come for him on this day.
In the sixth inning, which was his third plate appearance of the day, Puig was hit by an 0-1 pitch. It hit him right on the elbow, but Puig quickly brushed it off and ran down to first base. He didn’t walk, he didn’t strut, and he didn’t stare. He ran. Puig was a man on a mission, and he wanted everyone to know it.
In the seventh inning, Puig singled on the first pitch he saw from Luis Perdomo. According to MLB StatCast, the hit registered an exit velocity of 107 MPH. It was the fourth hardest hit ball of that game according to the publication. Joc Pederson owned the two hardest and Corey Seager was third. But Puig wasn’t done.
When he came up for the fifth time, Puig roped a ball to center field that went all the way to the wall. A throwing error as Puig slid into third base with a triple allowed him to scamper home for a run. It was a Little League home run, and it was something he gladly took.
For the day, Puig finished up 2-for-3 with a triple, one run batted in, three runs scored, one walk, one hit by pitch, and one strikeout. He reached base four of the five times he came to the plate. The eccentric Cuban outfielder was a Tour de Force, and he even used two hands to catch a fly ball.
The Dodgers hope that Puig can keep up this level of play. While he’s certainly not going to rack up 2-for-3 days all the time, or hit a triple every game, or even get a hit every single time he puts a ball into play, you have to love what you saw yesterday. He rebounded from a bad first at-bat to have a fantastic day. He could be the key to their success.