Following about as great a first five games as any baseball player has ever had to start a career (4 HRs, 10 RBI, .421 avg. in 19 ABs), Yasiel Puig-addicted Dodgers’ fans have seemingly been transformed, envisioning a fresh start, a new team, and renewed optimism. Not so fast, Bunky.
While a dominating hitter who seemingly can and will hit for average, hit for power, and do it at the most opportune times, like yesterday (6th inning game-tying HR) and who also possesses both great speed and a powerhouse arm, can certainly be a guy who can win games almost on his own, how often can that happen? Certainly not often enough to turn a sub-.500 cellar-dweller in to a pennant contender.
Yasiel Puig Graphic
From $14.99 depending on size and framing
|I hate to burst the balloon, but the Dodgers’ still need much, much more than even Puig can supply. He can be this year’s Mike Trout, as I described a couple of days ago, but that was not enough for the 2012 Angels, and the 2013 Dodgers are a far inferior team to last season’s Angels’ squad, even when healthy.
One new player – no matter how outstanding – can only compensated so much for the underachieving performances from Matt Kemp, Andre Either, Luis Cruz, Ramon Hernandez
(the list goes on …..) and lengthy injury problems inflicting Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, A.J. Ellis (that list goes on, too …..). Now, if the team added Yasiel Puig II to play third base, Yasiel Puig III to catch, Yasiel Puig IV to start every fifth day, and Yasiel Puig V to be the closer, then maybe unbridled optimism would be appropriate. But given the overall state of the team, and the hole they have put themselves into after about 1/3 of the season, and the overriding, inescapable problem of the empty gorilla in the room, the non-manager don mattingly, any real success under the status quo is this season still only the dream of the true, psychotic fanatic, who lives in those Dodgers’ Stadium castles in the sky.
Yasiel Puig I, if he continues his level of intensity and excitement, and hopefully if he can continue to put up solid numbers, will make the rest of the season worth watching, with fans on the edges of their seats. But unless and until there is a real manager occupying that still-empty uniform to go along with Puig-Mania, little else will change.