Don Mattingly benches Yasiel Puig with the Dodgers’ season on the line

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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.

Apparent roster snafu changes Blue Jays pitching plans

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ATLANTA — An apparent roster snafu forced the Toronto Blue Jays to change their pitching plans for Thursday night’s game at the Atlanta Braves.

After Nate Pearson gave up three runs in five innings, manager Charlie Montoyo brought in right-hander Jacob Waguespack to open the sixth.

As Waguespack walked to the mound, he was greeted by home plate umpire Alan Porter, who apparently delivered some bad news: The right-hander wasn’t on the 28-man active roster for the game.

The Blue Jays optioned Waguespack and infielder Santiago Espinal to the team’s alternate training site on Thursday to reach the 28-man roster limit.

Montoyo told reporters before the game Waguespack had been recalled when right-hander Trent Thornton was placed on the 10-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. That move apparently was not processed, leaving Waguespack off the active roster.

Waguespack walked to the dugout and Montoyo brought in Rafael Dolis as the official replacement for Pearson.