In a move sure to generate headlines whether it works in the Dodgers’ favor or not, manager Don Mattingly has benched Yasiel Puig for Game 4 against the Cardinals and is starting Andre Ethier in center field.
On the mound for St. Louis is right-hander Shelby Miller, who had a neutral platoon split this year.
During the regular season Puig hit .307 with a .901 OPS against righties, compared to .253 with a .710 OPS for Ethier. Puig is also a superior defensive center fielder and hit a triple last night after seven straight strikeouts.
Considering how the playoffs have gone so far there’s probably a decent chance Ethier goes 5-for-5 with three homers or something, but this sure looks like a panic move by Mattingly based on small sample sizes or gut feelings or whatever other excuse a manager might give for benching one of his best players in an elimination game.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.