All Hail Puig!
Wednesday evening Yasiel Puig decided he was going to drive the Dodgers train, and instead of running off the rails he barrelled through the Giants like there weren't even there. Last night he showcased his magnificent arm (watch it here), made a highlight sprawling catch on the warning track in right field (watch it here) and powered the Blue Crew by hitting an three-run home run in the first inning of the game (watch it here). Per Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"That's the guy we all know he can be," said third baseman Justin Turner. "He has the potential to be a game-changer. He's an exciting player on both sides of the ball. When he's confident, having fun, playing the game the right way, he makes a big difference. That's why we all wanted him back in September. He can be a key player for us."As a result of Puig's herculean efforts the Dodgers defeated the Giants 9-3 and increased their lead in the West to six games. They also dropped their "magic number" to five games. BTW, his play on the field earned him the teams WWE-styled "player of the game" belt, as evidenced by a photo tweeted by NBC reporter Michael Duarte.
He wasn't in the first half of the season, but Puig has responded to an August demotion to Triple-A like it was the wake-up call management intended. Teammates have noticed, and even Puig noticed how they came to his defense Monday night when Bumgarner told Puig not to look at him and the benches cleared.
"I really appreciate the way the team welcomed me since my return, and I try to show I'm grateful for the opportunity," said Puig. "It was nice for them to wait for me after the catch."
Photo above via Juan Ocampo/LA Dodgers 2016. Go here to check out more pics by Juan and Jon SooHoo from yesterdays game. Below are more links to check out:
- This Day in Dodgers History: In 1926 Brooklyn Hall of Famer Zach Wheat hit his last home run as a Dodger. While near second base he severly pulls a muscle and rest nearly five minutes before completing his obligatory run around the bases. This marks the longest home run trot in history. In 1986 Fernando Valenzuela became the first Mexican ballplayer to win twenty games in a season.
- Happy Birthday, Doug Camilli, "Sweet" Lou Johnson and Tommy Lasorda!
- Vin Scully got a nice gift from Yasiel Puig yesterday. Check it out in the pic above, via Los Dodgers on twitter. As you can see, Puig gave Vin the notorious custom painted cleats that earned Yasiel a warning letter from MLB. He was threatened with an $5,000 fine for violating uniform rules. Vin talks about the receiving the shoes here.
- Podcast: Listen to Tommy Lasorda speak with Colin Gunderson about his 89th birthday (today) on his "Love of Baseball" podcast (Link Here).
- Via Eno Sarris at FanGraphs; "Kenta Maeda, Then and Now."
He’s throwing more two-seamers and curves here in America, but it turns out he’s doing so for different reasons.
The first of those reasons is something I’ve heard before: the ball is different in America. Hisashi Iwakuma says that’s the case, explaining to me that it helps him get more movement on the splitter here. “Seams are higher,” Maeda himself told me this past June. “More movement on the two-seamer and the break on my changeup is a little bit more than it was in Japan.”
- Via Nick Ostiller at Medium.com; "(Fred) Claire’s Baseball Evolution Spans a Half-Century."
“My vision was to create a true, almost collegiate link between the fans and the Dodgers,” Claire said.
“We created the theme and the ink and the branding, and [Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda] was the guy who helped carry it out. Like a lot of branding, it’s the simplicity of it that really made it stick. And it was the right theme at the right time.”
- Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest shares his, "2016 Dodgers All-Prospect Team."
- Via Ken Gurnick at MLB.com; "Roberts gets his turn in Vin's booth."
- Orel at Sons of Steve Garvey relays Jerry Reuss' Vin Scully Story from his recent book. Check it out here.
- Via Jack Baer at MLB.com; "Kazmir's return a de facto postseason audition: Dodgers' lefty comes off disabled list on Friday vs. Rockies."
"With Kaz, he's been dealing with injuries the second half of the season. Talking to [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] and talking to Scott, myself, he feels good," Roberts said. "He's in a good place. We have to see what we have in him. He's a guy we have high expectations for, we have all season. It's been a tough year for him, but where he's at, we're confident that he can regain his form and pitch well for us."
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