For the second time in the last five games, Yasiel Puig was not in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup. Puig made a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning and represented the go-ahead run with the Dodgers trailing, 2-1.
Puig struck out to end the inning and extended his hitless streak to 19 at-bats. Aside from the fact that Puig hasn’t fared well against Padres starter Andrew Cashner in his career, manager Don Mattingly sensed frustration in his center fielder and as a result, sat Puig.
Mattingly discussed Puig’s emotion and the difficulty in playing at that level for an entire season, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
The season is long, and it wears you down,” Mattingly said. “It’s part of learning to regulate yourself here, as far as rest or anything else. We’ve seen Dee Gordon and how much more consistent his approach is day in and day out now, staying at a certain level. I think Yasiel’s really emotional, and it’s hard to be really emotional and play 162.”
Puig is hitting .221 in August, which is the lowest average he’s had in any month this season. As for whether or not there’s an issue with the way Puig prepares day in and day out, Mattingly wouldn’t say:
I’ve seen it both ways. I’ve seen guys who are consistently here early doing early work all the time. I’ve also seen some guys that are in the Hall of Fame that got to the park late, got themselves ready to play and go, and do that every day,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think there’s one way to do it.”
Dodgers hitting coach offered his take on Puig’s slump and said he needs to return to the patient hitter he was earlier in the season. In recent games, Puig has often swung at the first pitch and had poor results.
The Dodgers would surely benefit from Puig bouncing back as their lead in the National League West standings was cut to 3.5 games after Friday’s loss.
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