It’s going to take more than one story or one blog entry to grasp the full scope of what’s happened to the Dodgers roster since the end of the season. I wrote this today. It’s a start. Mostly, it’s a look ahead to what the 2015 Dodgers could look like. What changes could happen between now and then?
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier might never make it as an actor, but at least he will be among the lucky few with both a baseball-reference.com and IMDB.com page after making a cameo on Disney XD’s “Lab Rats” last night.
ST. LOUIS >> Yasiel Puig was smiling Tuesday afternoon, cracking jokes, looking nothing like a man who’d just been benched for a playoff game for the first time in his major-league career.
He learned his fate the same way the rest of us at Busch Stadium did: by seeing Andre Ethier‘s name in the lineup card. But Puig said in Spanish that he didn’t need to talk to manager Don Mattingly about the decision.
“We need to win that game,” Puig said. “I’m not working well on the field against St. Louis. It’s gone really bad in this series but … we’re doing the best we can. I’d like to hit every time I’ve gone up to bat, but haven’t been able to do so and I just win this game today with Ethier back there and with all of the guys that are playing. We know that we’re going to win with (Clayton) Kershaw on the mound and then continue at home with (Zack) Greinke.”
Yasiel Puig hasn’t hit a home run since July 31 and is batting .211 since. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)
One day after Yasiel Puig was given a day off to recover from a stomach ailment that required IV treatments, the All-Star outfielder found himself hitting seventh Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It’s the second time this week that Puig has been dropped to the lowest spot in the batting order in his career. Monday against the Washington Nationals, Puig batted sixth for the first time.
Puig owns a .211/.301/.239 slash line since August 1. He hasn’t hit a home run during the 29 games since.
Puig is playing right field, while Andre Ethier is batting fifth and starting in center field for the first time since August 29. Ethier has a .259/.300/.333 slash line in 30 plate appearances against Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill.
Yasiel Puig is 1 for 11 in his career against San Diego Padres starter Andrew Cashner. (Andy Holzman/Staff photographer)
SAN DIEGO >> Dodgers manager Don Mattingly benched slumping outfielder Yasiel Puig for the first game of the Dodgers’ series against the Padres.
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.”
To be fair to Gonzalez, who played the first six innings at first base Sunday before Ethier took over, he made a fantastic over-the-shoulder running catch of a Jean Segura pop-up in the sixth inning. The ball probably would have landed fair; at least it would have been close.
But Ethier didn’t flub any of the five balls thrown his way, which is more than Gonzalez could say. Gonzalez’s error in the second inning — dropping a catchable throw from second baseman Dee Gordon at close range — allowed the Brewers to score three unearned runs against Dan Haren in the Dodgers’ 7-2 loss. Continue reading →
MILWAUKEE — The Dodgers’ team plane touched down in Milwaukee around 6:30 a.m. this morning. As a result, players did not hit on the field at Miller Park or go through the usual pregame routine fielding drills.
Ethier has played one inning at first base in his career, during a fairly meaningless August 2010 game against the San Diego Padres. Lately, it’s been hard for Ethier to get on the field in any capacity. He’s seen time at all three outfield positions in August, but since Yasiel Puig took over as the Dodgers’ starting center fielder, Ethier has only 13 plate appearances. The lack of regular at-bats hasn’t helped Ethier to get his lost season untracked; his 2-for-4 game Wednesday in Anaheim gave Ethier his first hits since July 22.
So it’s not hard to see why Mattingly would try to get Ethier comfortable at a fourth position. Even if Adrian Gonzalez is entrenched as the starter and Scott Van Slyke is the primary backup.
Yasiel Puig has played 10 games in center field, all last season. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)
PITTSBURGH >> It was just a thought in the middle of a July game, but it’s one that could have lasting consequences for the Dodgers.
Manager Don Mattingly said that Matt Kemp looked so comfortable playing right field Monday that he entertained the thought of keeping Kemp there and moving Puig to center field.
“It made me think about it,” Mattingly said. “Just how comfortable Matt looked, it changes the combination of guys. So again, you’re always trying to put the best club out there, give yourself the best chance to win. It just popped into my head during the game last night.” Continue reading →