Andre Ethier is starting in center field for the first time in six days.
Puig is hitless in his last 18 plate appearances. He’s also 1 for 11 against the Padres’ starting pitcher, right-hander Andrew Cashner. His .091 batting average against Cashner is the lowest against any opponent he’s seen at least 10 times.
“He seems frustrated to us,” Mattingly said. “Just felt the extra day, with the matchups, it seems like it was the right thing to do today.”
Puig’s batting average has been running hot and cold from month to month this year: .276 in March and April, .398 in May, .248 in June, .351 in July and .221 with a couple days left in August. He’s tried playing through an assortment of injuries that could be partly to blame. Right now, Mattingly said, Puig is healthy.
“The season is long and it wears you down,” Mattingly said. “It’s part of learning to regulate yourself here, as far as rest and everything else. I’m not saying that has anything to do with Yasiel, but I think for all guys — I think we see it with Dee Gordon, how much more consistent his approach is day and day out, mentally staying at that level. I think Yasiel’s really emotional and it’s hard to be really emotional and play all 162. So we see him get tired because you can’t play with the fired-up mentality like that.”