The Los Angeles Dodgers were looking to put their disappointing weekend series against the San Francisco Giants behind them as they faced the Miami Marlins on Monday night. After last night’s 6-5 win, the team may be headed in the right direction and Yasiel Puig is to thank.
In the win, the right fielder blasted a crucial three-run home run to put the Dodgers ahead in the fourth inning and he then drew a bases-loaded walk in the following inning. The home run extended Puig’s hitting streak to 12 games.
Last season, Puig finished with a .319 batting average, 19 home runs and 42 RBIs over the course of 104 games. His critics were quick to assume that the 23-year-old was not going to be able to continue his high level of play into the 2014 season. In typical Puig fashion, he has to this point, proven the naysayers wrong. In 34 games, the Cuban sensation is batting .318 with a .408 OBP, including seven home runs and 29 RBIs.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has been particularly impressed with Puig and attributes his impressive season so far to his emotional maturity, via Pedro Moura of the O.C. Register:
“Leaps and bounds with him for me, as the year goes,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Puig. “Last year, he was a lot more emotional with men in scoring position. This year, he’s less.”
It seems as if the right fielder has truly worked on trying to turn his attitude around following his off-season and home-opener drama. Although Puig is still young, he has solidified a starting position amidst the crowded outfield and is on track to have another impressive season.
That being said, the baseball season is not even two months underway. While there remains the possibility Puig’s performance and production will decline as the season progresses, at his current rate, it seems as if nothing is going to stop the right fielder from matching or surpassing last season’s stats.
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