Friday, July 12, 2013
Are Puig's mounting strikeouts a concern?
By Mark Saxon
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have spent a lot of time over the past few days defending Yasiel Puig's personality. They're a little more concerned, however, with some erratic signs in his hitting than they are with whether he rankles opponents' feelings.
Everything Puig does is big, including striking out. His swings and misses have been on an astronomical climb the past 10 days. Since July 2, Puig has swung and missed 44 times. The next closest hitter in the majors, B.J. Upton, has swung and missed 30 times since then.
While Puig has maintained a more-than-reasonable batting average (.275) since July 2, his OPS has gone from 1.218 to .643. On the season, he has struck out 36 times and walked eight times.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly sees the spike in Puig's strikeouts as a product of over-aggression.
"He gets emotional and he wants to do it. He gets mad," Mattingly said. "It's like he has to calm himself back down and get strikes. It's almost like, 'I know where they're going and I'm going to hit that ball.' I think, in a sense, he thinks he can do anything.
"At some point, you have to figure out exactly what you hit, what you don't hit and what a guy can do to you."
One of the more disturbing trends with Puig's strikeouts is that they are not necessarily a result of chasing bad pitches. His swing-and-miss rate within the strike zone, according to ESPN Stats and Information, has gone from 20.5 percent to 43 percent since July 2.
In a lengthy and engaging interview on ESPNLA 710 Friday, Mattingly defended Puig's exuberant style of play and praised Andre Ethier for his willingness to play wherever -- and whenever -- the Dodgers have asked him.
* Carl Crawford was a late scratch with some stiffness in his lower back, but Mattingly described the injury as "minor." Crawford was replaced by Skip Schumaker, fresh off serving a two-game suspension for the June 11 brawl with Arizona.
Here are lineups for Friday's game vs. Colorado:
1. Dexter Fowler CF
2. DJ LeMahieu 2B
3. Carlos Gonzalez LF
4. Troy Tulowitzki SS
5. Wilin Rosario C
6. Jordan Pacheco 1B
7. Charlie Blackmon RF
8. Nolan Arenado 3B
9. Juan Nicasio RHP
1. Skip Schumaker LF
2. Yasiel Puig RF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. Andre Ethier CF
6. A.J. Ellis C
7. Mark Ellis 2B
8. Juan Uribe 3B
9. Clayton Kershaw LHP