Dodgers Report: Frank Howard

The nurturing of Yasiel Puig's power

June, 7, 2013
6/07/13
11:15
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- This Yasiel Puig experience has been so surreal, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has taken to daydreaming about Puig's next exploit as he sits there on the bench or stands at the railing.

Often, the dream plays out right in front of him a few seconds later. He guessed Puig was going to hit a grand slam Thursday right before Puig hit a grand slam.

[+] EnlargeYasiel Puig
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesYasiel Puig hit his fourth home run in five games with the Dodgers and it helped L.A. to a 10-inning win over Atlanta.
Friday, he envisioned Puig throwing out the go-ahead runner at the plate in the eighth inning and then winning it with an inside-the-park home run.

OK, that one didn't happen.

But Puig did hit a crucial home run to tie the score in the sixth inning to set up the Dodgers' winning rally in the 10th inning to beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1. Timing is everything for the Dodgers' young slugger. He has yet to allow a pinnacle moment to pass without doing something dramatic.

"It's just crazy stuff," Mattingly said. "Nothing really surprises us anymore."

Friday was the kind of game the pre-Puig Dodgers seemed to lose every night. They'd struggle to score and keep it close with good pitching. Then, it seemed, they would stand around waiting for somebody to beat them. Puig seems to have eradicated that mindset.

"I think he gives us the energy that we were missing, you know?" said veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez. "[Carl] Crawford is hurt, [Matt] Kemp is hurt, Hanley [Ramirez] is barely playing. He's someone who plays every day with that energy, has fun, and passes that all the way around the field."

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Zack Greinke
WINS ERA SO IP
11 2.73 127 118
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .306
HRA. Gonzalez 14
RBIA. Gonzalez 59
RY. Puig 52
OPSY. Puig .911
ERAC. Kershaw 1.78
SOZ. Greinke 127