Few MLB players have been as controversial this season as Yasiel Puig. Some love him for his hustle, speed, power bat and power arm, and overall enthusiasm. Others say he is cocky, immature, celebrates too much, and makes stupid errors in the field or on the bases.
I like Puig’s talent and love the overall energy he brings, but some of his mistakes remind me too much of Vladimir Guerrero and are just maddening. Friday night was one of those bad nights.
While Puig silenced most of his critics during the NLDS, he gave them plenty of ammo in the NLCS, especially during Game 6. Puig made three poor plays in the field that helped St. Louis Cardinals base runners move up a base. He was charged with an error on two of the plays. Only one of the errors may have cost the Dodgers a run, but the plays were examples of what leads to the criticism of the Cuban outfielder.
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Puig’s first mistake came on Carlos Beltran’s RBI single in the bottom of the second. Puig made an off-balanced lollipop throw into home, which allowed Beltran to advance to second on the throw instead of staying at first.
Later in the inning, Puig airmailed a throw home on Shane Robinson’s 2-run single to make it 4-0. One could argue that a throw on the money might have had David Freese at the plate and kept the score at 3-0, but I think that would have been tough. His throw to the backstop allowed the Cardinals runners to move up to second and third, but Clayton Kershaw struck out Michael Wacha with the based loaded to end the inning.
Then in the fifth, Puig misplayed a single to right by Yadier Molina, allowing the catcher to take second.
Puig’s errors didn’t really affect the outcome — the Dodgers lost 9-0 — but this is exactly what people are talking about when they mention Puig’s shortcomings. Manager Don Mattingly talked about teaching Puig some maturity, but I don’t think this sort of thing will change. I think these types of plays are just part of who Puig is. He plays with a lot of intensity, so you just have to take the good with the bad and get used to it.Google+