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.