While a disaster outing from ace Clayton Kershaw and a lack of offense against Michael Wacha were the main reasons for the Dodgers’ season coming to an end last night, Yasiel Puig naturally received plenty of attention after the game for his three defensive miscues in right field.
According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly acknowledged in his postgame comments that the club still has some work to do with the 22-year-old outfielder.
“Sitting there watching it tonight, and it’s what we’ve kind of watched all year long, it’s like you don’t have time to work on it, really,” Mattingly said. “You kind of go over it and you try to teach. You just continue to try to teach. Not just him, but all of us, really, you know? Yasiel gets excited. He’s going to try to make plays all the time, and that’s the way he is. But we’ve got to do a better job, I think, of helping him to mature and understand what we want done and the way to do it.”
Mattingly’s concerns are valid. Sure, Puig’s aggressive style is a lot of fun to watch and it often leads to brilliance, but we saw last night that it can also result in extra bases for the opposition. This isn’t lost on Puig, who said through his interpreter after the game that the biggest thing he noticed during his rookie season is the importance of “every run, every at-bat, every play in the field.” Cliched, yes, but a comment like that at least shows that he is aware of the repercussions of his mistakes. Nobody is asking Puig to shed his exuberance — it’s what makes him so much fun — but getting him to adhere to basic fundamentals rather than trying to do too much shouldn’t be considered reining him in, either. It’s easy to forget that has has only been in the country for a little over one year, so there’s still plenty of room for growth on that end.