Don Mattingly Rolls The NLDS Dice On Andre Ethier, And It’s A Good Bet


Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is taking a bold chance by benching Yasiel Puig and starting Andre Ethier. I think it’s the right move, and here’s why:

1.  Yasiel Puig aint hitting, and there is no guaranteed tomorrow. Granted, Puig hit a triple in last night’s game, but before that, he had seven consecutive strike outs. During all of those K’s Puig wasn’t working the counts, fouling off pitches and catching bad luck on called strike threes. He wasn’t fouling off pitches AT ALL – he was just swinging and missing, swinging and missing.

He’s earned a Golden Sombrero, and having those be the stats for your team’s number two hitter is a sure fire way to end up exactly where the Dodgers find themselves today – with their backs against the wall, in desperate straits.

2. The Cardinals are playing and toying with Yasiel Puig.  Cardinals pitchers have not been fearing Puig. As a matter of fact, they probably wish he can get an at bat twice every inning. They have exploited his over-aggressiveness and baseball immaturity. Puig has not shown the ability to adjust to the Cardinals, and he’s shown himself to be a streaky type of hitter that will fall deeper into a slump before he climbs out.

3. This playoff series is a sprint, not a marathon.  Mattingly and the Dodgers don’t have 162 games to let Puig work out his batting problems. This is a best-of-five series and the Cardinals already have two wins in their little red pockets.

4. Andre Ethier may not have a cannon arm in center field, but then again not many players do. He’s certainly got a decent enough arm and he’s shown that he can play the field without hurting the team. His .992 overall and  .997 fielding percentage in center field for 2014 certainly show that.

Ethier has  been solid off the bench taking walks, hitting singles and he blasted a solid double in Game One. That’s exactly the kind of production the Dodgers need in the playoffs.

5. Don Mattingly is far from a good – or even average – field tactician, but he has shown the knack for making bold moves at exactly the right time. He did it earlier this season when he sparked his team by calling them out as a shite team and forcing them to either fall apart under battling egos or come together under one Dodger Blue flag.

The present Dodgers’ situation calls for one more bold move. Mattingly is calling upon his prodigal baseball son to rise to the occasion in foreign redbird territory and help the team advance. This drama is what the battle to reach the Fall Classic is all about. Don Mattingly has gone all in on Andre Ethier, and it’s the smart money bet.