Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig made his postseason debut last night, four months to the day that he made his regular season debut against the Padres.
Much like his first game in the big leagues on June 3, Puig stole the show from the get go last night. Without Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp in the lineup, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly put his 22-year-old star in the fifth spot to help drive in runs.
Puig notched his first career playoff hit in his first at-bat and was aggressive on a Juan Uribe single, moving first to third, helping the Dodgers get on the board. After the game, Puig talked to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com about his thought process on the play:
I’m thinking I got to get to third base. I see the hit to the right of the center fielder and I thought I could make it, Puig said. I did my job and I think he didn’t want to commit an error, especially with a runner behind me.
Many around baseball thought Puig’s aggressiveness would hurt the Dodgers in the playoffs, but last night it set the tone for the entire night. In the bottom of the second, Puig also showed off his strong arm and doubled off Braves outfielder Evan Gattis to end the inning.
On the night, Puig went 2-4 and behind Clayton Kershaw’s 12 strikeouts, the Dodgers grabbed a 1-0 series lead. Catcher A.J. Ellis had high praise for the young outfielder and how his energy is felt throughout:
It’s great to have him on our team. He plays so hard and has such passion and energy. It’s infectious.
Skip Schumaker also talked about how he loves how aggressive Puig is and while he might make mistakes, he wouldn’t want him to play any other way. Puig’s energy and passion for the game can sometime put the Dodgers in a bad spot, but he certainly does a lot more good than bad when he’s on the field.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!