Dodgers Notes: Yasiel Puig focuses best when he’s having fun
PHOENIX — Yasiel Puig has certainly left his mark on this series.
In Game 1, he tripled, slid head first into third base and stared into the dugout, sticking his tongue out and wagging it back and forth.
In Game 2, he looped a soft single into center field to drive in a run, flipped his bat and celebrated all the way to first base. The 85 mph exit velocity on the hit might have set a record – in the Statcast Era – for the lowest exit velocity to draw a bat flip.
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“That’s what Yasiel does,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the tongue flashing – which Puig re-created (twice) during the postgame news conference, asking teammate Justin Turner to grade his efforts. “Sometimes you shake your head. Sometimes you smile.”
And sometimes you bench him for showing up late before a game. The narrative of a more mature Puig took a hit with that late-season benching but Roberts praised Puig for bringing discipline to the postseason this year.
“I was talking to the coaches and this is as good as we’ve seen him focus on every single pitch in the game,” Roberts said. “When you combine that with the skill set that he has and the energy that he brings, he doesn’t only energize 50,000 people (in the stands), he energizes everyone in the clubhouse.”
That is not the effect Puig has always had on his teammates. But as much as Puig has changed so has the clubhouse around him.
“We understand his personality better now,” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said. “People got to know […]