What unwritten rule did Dodgers rookie/conga line dancer Yasiel Puig violate this time, leading to a mid-game benching and a round of paroxysmal I-told-you-sos from our nation's baseball columnists? Actually, this one's pretty justified.
Skip Schumacher took over right field from Puig in the fifth inning, and Dodgers brass declined to elaborate. Manager Don Mattingly would only say afterward that Schumacher, with his OPS 244 points lower than Puig's, "gave us the best chance to win." (Maybe that was the truth; Schumacher would single home the Dodgers' fourth run of a 4-0 win over the Cubs.)
Mattingly's postgame press conference was an inquisition, with reporters having scrutinized Puig's limited action to see which particular lollygag warranted a benching. Was it not trying to break up a double play in the first inning? Mattingly said no. Was it making a pair of flashy "swipe" catches? Rickey Henderson made those all the time, Mattingly said.
Puig struck out in the third and looked bad doing it. He tossed his bat angrily, then emerged slowly from the dugout to take his position in right field in the fourth. He went to his position slowly, in kind of a sulk, and then was observed by Mattingly and assistants as not being ready to play, even as Nolasco went into his pitching motion.
"I don’t need to go into what I see," Mattingly said. Bingo.
Puig met with Mattingly and GM Ned Colletti for a half-hour after the game, and in his own presser, was (uncharacteristically?) humble, completely owning up to his mistakes—at the urging of Dodgers' veterans, says Ken Rosenthal.
“It’s true that there were some pitches that I wasn’t prepared for,” Puig said through an interpreter, referring to his preparation on defense. “I’m just going to come back and make sure to give it 100 percent.”
"I always give my best but, honestly, today there was some fatigue and I wasn't prepared."
So, we're all good? Puig was punished, and knows he fucked up? The Dodgers still won? Sounds like last night was a victory for everyone, except the Cubs, and they're used to that.