For Yasiel Puig, the 24 hours that existed between Tuesday and Wednesday night couldn’t have felt more different.
On Tuesday night, Puig captured the hearts of everyone, belting two home runs — one that tied the game and another that put the Dodgers ahead for good — in addition to a leadoff double in the first inning and five RBIs later, Puig had made headlines.
Fast-forward to Wednesday night and Puig was trying to recover mentally from his first 0-fer as a professional, going 0/4 with two strikeouts.
What made things worse for Puig was that all of the pitfalls of younger players — pitfalls that seemed foriegn to Puig on Tuesday night — were on full display Wednesday night.
24 hours after stepping up to the plate like he’d been there for years, Puig reminded us that he’s just a 22-year-old rookie.
Throughout the game Puig was obviously pressing, swinging harder than usual and treating every at-bat like his career depended on it.
His last at-bat was a perfect example — after striking out on a questionable strike three call, Puig was seen crouching down in the dugout with his bat in hand and helmet on. After a number of players in the dugout came over to console the youngster, the camera panned away and the game went on.
Now I don’t want this article to be read as someone overreacting to a bad night by Puig — trust me, that’s the last thing running through my mind.
The purpose is to reflect on Wednesday night’s reminder that Puig isn’t this team’s savior. At least not yet.
He’s a 22-year old who took a full year off of baseball within the past 30 months — and one who’s going to have some serious growing pains.
Tuesday night showed his potential, but Wednesday night showed his limitations.
The question for Puig and the Dodgers now is simple: how is he going to respond?
Will he take a deep breath, become more patient at the plate and work through his problems? Or will he continue pressing and stressing himself out unnecessarily?
That answer isn’t going to come in one night, but regardless of when it does come, at least we’ve got Tuesday night to remember in the meantime.