Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig had very good seasons in 2014, but I recommend Dodger Manager Don Mattingly shut their seasons down (mostly), and they sit out this weekend’s final games. Last night Mattingly sat them after five innings, but that was four innings too late. Mattingly should not make this a pattern for the remaining two games, and this is why…
Yasiel Puig opened the Dodgers first inning last night by driving Dee Gordon home with a sharp RBI single to left. When the Rockies fruitlessly threw home, Puig lit out for second, but was thrown out by a mile. On his way back to the dugout, he showed a noticeable limp. That wasn’t Kemp’s infectious and playful skip, it was a limp. The kid could use this weekend to heal up. Besides, I like Puig feeling a little hungry to play. Mattingly can use him as a pinch-hitter to keep his batting eyes sharp.
Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody at this point, and he’s in a bit of a slump. He started Friday night’s game 0-14. That’s a bit of a slump. Give him some time away from the grind of the basepaths and coming up to bat four times a night thinking, “I’m 0 for 12, 0 for 13…0 for 14…” He’s going to benefit from taking a couple of days off. A late inning pinch hit per game will still allow him time in the batter’s box to work things out.
Gonzalez hasn’t forgotten how to hit, and when the playoffs begin, he’s enough of a veteran to switch into that specialized higher gear. The “0 fors” from the regular season will be behind him and forgotten.
Sitting out Puig and Gonzalez opens spots for Andre Ethier and The Bearded One, Scott Van Slyke, to play almost every inning of the final games. They both need plenty of at-bats before the playoffs. Ethier might remember how to hit a double in the corner and Van Slyke always gets better with more at-bats.
If the Dodgers have veterans with healed up muscles, and the bench players have warmed up muscles, we’ll have a ballclub ready to go for Game One of the playoffs.
What do you think? Should Puig and/or Gonzalez sit out the last two games and have a semi-long layoff before the postseason? Do you think one or both are likely to get rusty? Who needs those exra at-bats the most? Drop a line in the comments and let us know your Dodgers opinion.