As I said in the initial Puig post, I would’ve benched Puig for being late to the park. It’s a no-brainer. You’re late, you ride the pine. This is not at all controversial. For Don Mattingly to do anything else would be wrong.
But of course, it’s never that simple with Puig. When he does something like this it’s the Worst Thing In The World. If you don’t believe me, read this from the Los Angeles Daily News:
Yes, he’s going to totally unravel the team. What’s more:
Yasiel Puig is the very thing that stands to undo the Dodgers’ World Series championship hopes. Not injuries to Clayton Kershaw or Brian Wilson or any other player . . . Don’t listen to anything he says. He’s not responsible. He’s reckless and selfish and his mistakes are inexcusable . . . He cheated everyone out of watching his antics — both dazzling and disturbing — in the home opener. Shame on him.
Clearly that’s not overstated. Not in the least. Puig being on this team is objectively far worse than not having Clayton Kershaw on it. Indeed, if it meant getting rid of Puig for good, I’m sure Don Mattingly would hold Kershaw’s arm out straight while Ned Colletti broke it with a sledgehammer. It’s that important!
Seriously, folks: this is what I get on about when I defend Puig. I don’t defend his actions when they are legitimately out of line. But I will defend anyone who attacked in such an over-the-top manner, as Puig routinely is. By people who are either unable or unwilling to distinguish between the notion of a player screwing up and a player dooming his team because of his screwups.
Puig has done the former plenty of times. He has done nothing close to the latter, and anyone suggesting otherwise is way more interested in sensationalism than accuracy.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.