Yasiel Puig AP

Yasiel Puig is going to slow it down this year


I’ll believe it when I see it — I feel like it’s going to take a big injury for Puig to be anything less than a race car in the red, in every sense of the term — but Dylan Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are working on slowing down Yasiel Puig:

“The fans go to the stadium to enjoy themselves,” Puig said in Spanish. “After work, they spend their free time watching us play. We have to do our best to entertain them.”

Puig did that last season with a hair-raising style of play, electrifying crowds in becoming one of baseball’s top draws as a rookie. However, Puig also acknowledges he has to be more restrained on the field, admitting he has to be smarter on the bases and learn when to hit the cutoff man rather than throw directly to the plate from right field.

I like that Puig acknowledges that he’s an entertainer. I feel like baseball would be more fun if more players felt that way. But yeah, hitting the cutoff man kind of matters. As does not chasing balls a foot out of the strike zone.

If he can manage to stay intense and fun while refining his game, he’ll be the biggest thing ever. If he just does one or the other he’ll still be worth watching, even if he’s got issues. If he ratchets things back and doesn’t improve, man, snoozeville.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
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With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.

95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.

In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.

Yankees to host AL Wild Card Game after Astros lose to D’Backs

Jacoby Ellsbury, Tony Pena
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Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.

The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.

The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.

The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.