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Yasiel Puig Back for the Dodgers 9-2 Win over San Diego
As expected Yasiel Puig was in the starting lineup for the Dodgers 9-2 win over the San Diego Padres after being benched after four innings on Wednesday.
"We've talked about it," Don Mattingly said. "It's over."
It's amazing how worked up some people get when the subject of Puig comes up. You can see the manic eyes, the frothing of the mouth, the trembling hands. I even hear the comments in the press box. Puig needs to be benched. Puig is going to cost the Dodgers games. Puig needs to be controlled. The Cuban import is a disgrace to baseball.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, there is a much more level-headed approach when dealing with Puig.
"He's a young guy coming from a different country, a different culture," general manager Ned Colletti said. Colletti noted on one hand that there was still a maturation and educational process ongoing with Puig, but that patience was needed to be exercised.
"We're talking about somebody as of a little more than a year ago wasn't even in professional baseball in his country let alone Major League Baseball, let alone a market like L.A. It's a process. We're happy to do anything we can to help him."
Neither Mattingly nor Colletti said that in an instant Puig had become the perfect player.
"I'm not saying there won't be another mistake by any of our guys," Mattingly said. "We have many guys who make mistakes all the time. I make them myself. We try to learn from them and move forward."
Just as Mattingly turned the page, so too did Puig as evidenced by his 4-for-5 night with two stolen bases. Puig downplayed the effect of the benching on Wednesday. "I just come to play baseball like I always do," he said.
Although Mattingly knew he was going to get the line of questioning, he still wasted no time showing his impatience. "Seriously, do we have to get back into this every time," he asked. "He was fine. He played the game the way we wanted."
Hanley Ramirez added his sentiments. "Everybody knows he's unbelievable."
After the Dodgers chased Padres starter Eric Stults out of the game in the sixth inning, they only added to their 4-1 lead in the seventh off of reliever Anthony Bass. To say it didn't go well for Bass is an understatement.
- Yasiel Puig: single.
- Carl Crawford: walk.
- Hanley Ramirez: double. Puig & Crawford score. Dodgers lead 6-1.
- Adrian Gonzalez: homer. Ramirez & Gonzalez score. Dodgers lead 8-1.
- A.J. Ellis: homer. Ellis scores. Dodgers lead 9-1.
- Andre Ethier: single.
Bass got the next three batters out, but the 9-1 lead allowed the newest Dodger Edinson Volquez to come into the game.
The last time Volquez pitched, it was last Friday as the starter for the Padres against the Chicago Cubs. Before one out was recorded in the game Volquez had given up six runs and was taken out of the when he loaded the bases with two outs in that first inning.
"I think they knew everything I was going to throw," Volquez said. "Every pitch I threw, they hit them. I was surprised."
Volquez summed up that 2/3 of an inning as bad luck noting that his numbers prior to that game were good against the Cubs. In seven prior games started against the Cubs, he had a 5-0 record with a 2.78 ERA.
Much to everyone's relief, Volquez just gave up a single in his eighth inning. Volquez admitted to a minor change.
"I used to be on the first-base side," Volquez said. "I just moved to the third-base side. But nothing big right now. We have time for whatever we want to do."
Volquez's last appearance from the bullpen came on May 25, 2008 with the Reds. It was the 17th inning at Petco against the Padres, an affair he described as disastrous which culminated in a walk-off homer by Adrian Gonzalez in the 18th, a 3-2 changeup right down the middle as he reminisced.
"That was better today," Volquez said with a hearty laugh. "Big time better."
To make room on the roster, the Dodger optioned Chris Withrow to Triple-A Albuquerque. The plan is to have pitching coach Rick Honeycutt (a.k.a. the Pitcher Whisperer) work with Volquez making some minor mechanical changes and have him come out of the bullpen before giving him a possible shot as a starter in September.
* Adrian Gonzalez hit two home runs in the game, the 15th multi-homer game of his career and second with the Dodgers. Six of his 19 homers this season has come off the Padres, a coincidence as he characterized them.
* Ryu Hyun-Jin pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up an earned run, an improvement over the four earned runs he gave up to Boston on Saturday. Ryu also got the Dodgers on the board in the second inningwith an RBI double to left that tied the game 1-1. He scored on Puig's single sliding home on what can be call anything but an artistic slide.
* Gonzalez's and A.J. Ellis' home runs in the seventh mark the third time this season the Dodgers have hit back-to-back home runs.
Padres Scorecard: (click to embiggen)
Dodgers Scorecard: (click to embiggen)