Puig struggles in Miami debut

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
7:05
PM PT
MIAMI -- Yasiel Puig’s first trip to play in Miami didn’t exactly have a storybook beginning.

His name (along with those of several teammates) surfaced in an Internet report about alleged partying in South Beach into the wee hours on Monday, he sniped at some members of the media in the clubhouse and then went out and lost the battle of Cuban phenoms to the Miami MarlinsJose Fernandez.

[+] EnlargeJuan Uribe
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyJuan Uribe lined a double off Cuban sensation Jose Fernandez for his 16th hit in 30 at-bats.
Puig was 0-for-5 in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 6-2 loss to the Marlins on Monday. He's batting .171 with 10 strikeouts and one RBI in his past nine games.

After striking out on a 97-mph Fernandez fastball in the fifth inning, Puig turned and had some words with umpire John Hirschbeck. The conversation continued when Puig got back to the dugout, with several Dodgers escorting Puig up the tunnel.

You could understand if his emotions were a bit amped up. The Marlins had a big crowd, by their standards -- 27,127 fans -- for the Puig-Fernandez matchup. Miami has the largest population of Cuban expatriates in the United States.

Not that Puig had anything to be embarrassed about. Fernandez has been as dominant as any pitcher in baseball for two months. In fact, since June 1, his ERA (1.65) has been better than Clayton Kershaw’s, or any other pitcher’s, for that matter.

The Dodgers didn’t hit him, but they did gradually wear him down, driving up his pitch count so that, by the end of the sixth inning, he had thrown 109. The Marlins are concerned about the 21-year-old’s workload and the sixth was his final inning. But the Dodgers couldn’t make headway against a shaky Marlins bullpen.

Fernandez struck out eight batters and he might have gone deeper if not for third baseman Ed Lucas’s fifth-inning error. Lucas dropped the throw from catcher Jeff Mathis after Hyun-Jin Ryu’s bunt attempt, leading to an unearned run.

Juan Uribe, the hottest Dodger hitter at the moment, provided the rest of the scoring off Miami’s Cuban sensation. He lined a double into the left-field corner to score Andre Ethier from first. It was Uribe’s 16th hit in 30 at-bats.

Ryu got the Dodgers in a 2-0 hole in the first inning after Fernandez singled to center and another rookie, Christian Yelich, ripped a double to left field. He settled down after that, but Logan Morrison hit a double that one-hopped the right-field wall to drive in the go-ahead run in the sixth.

Giancarlo Stanton got the Marlins a key extra run with a line-drive home run off the weird, colorful home run celebration contraption beyond the center-field wall off reliever Chris Withrow in the eighth. Then, the Marlins piled on against J.P. Howell.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Dan Haren
WINS ERA SO IP
3 2.16 20 25
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Gordon .367
HRA. Gonzalez 5
RBIA. Gonzalez 17
RA. Gonzalez 14
OPSA. Gonzalez .969
ERAH. Ryu 1.93
SOZ. Greinke 29