Yasiel Puig shows up late to the ballpark today, gets benched

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Dude. I’ve done my damndest to defend you, but at some point you gotta help me help you:

Kemp was supposed to sit this one out, but Mattingly has benched Puig. Which — my past defenses of him notwithstanding — is exactly what he should do in this situation. Do the crime, such as it is, do the time.

My beef has never been with Mattingly or the Dodgers handling Puig the way he should be handled. It’s been about overreaction of the media with respect to his behavior and the implication that he’s not manageable via the same means via which any other ballplayer is subject.

This is a clear violation of Puig’s responsibilities. Mattingly has made him pay for it. Now let’s see if that’s good enough for everyone. I feel like it won’t be.

UPDATE: Nope, it isn’t. Read this for the most ridiculously over-heated response to this.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.