PUIG’S NIGHT IS A BIT OF A BUST

Dodgers out­fielder is 0 for 4, with three strike­outs, and breaks a bat in frus­tra­tion.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Zach Helfand

AR­LING­TON, Texas — The Dodgers’ 4-1 loss to the Texas Rangers on Mon­day started with a cel­e­bra­tion of Korean Her­itage Night, dur­ing which a group of kids used taek­wondo moves to break a wooden board.

Eight in­nings later, Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers used his knee to break a wooden bat.

Puig had just struck out with two run­ners on base and said he was frus­trated he couldn’t come through. He plod­ded to the dugout with the two bat shards in hand, stomped into the tun­nel and chucked the lum­ber at a light fix­ture. The light fix­ture crashed to the ce­ment. Team­mates nearby looked star­tled.

Af­ter the game, Puig said through an in­ter­preter that the out­burst was “noth­ing. I struck out, and I didn’t get the run­ner in.”

Dodgers Man­ager Don Mat­tingly shrugged and mused, “Prob­a­bly rather see a bat flip than a bat break.”

It was a frus­trat­ing night for the en­tire Dodgers lineup, which has plunged into a pro­longed of­fen­sive re­ces­sion. The Dodgers re­main in first place in the Na­tional

League West. Yet, in their first 32 games, they av­er­aged 5.3 runs and bat­ted .272 with an on-base-plus-slug­ging per­cent­age of .842.

In the 31 games since, their out­put has been slashed to 3.5 runs per game with a .244 bat­ting av­er­age and a .700 OPS.

The Dodgers have scored two runs or fewer in six of the last 11 games, although they have weath­ered the stretch with a 6-5 record.

“I think we’re fine,” Mat­tingly said. “Right now our lineup is not re­ally a prob­lem. We’ve got spots. I think we’re ca­pa­ble.”

Catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal, who pro­vided the Dodgers’ only of­fense against the Rangers with a home run in the eighth in­ning, said he ex­pe­ri­enced slumps while with the San Diego Padres. This time, he said, feels dif­fer­ent. He said signs of frus­tra­tion are, in fact, rare.

“Here, you’ve got so many vet­er­ans, they know the num­bers are go­ing to be there at the end of the day,” Gran­dal said. “It’ll get here at some point.”

Puig has added a spark since his re­turn from the dis- abled list June 6. In seven games be­fore Mon­day’s 0for-4 per­for­mance, he was bat­ting 13 for 27 with a home run and four runs bat­ted in.

The eighth-in­ning strike- out that led to his bat’s demise was his third of the game. Ag­gra­va­tion had been build­ing. Af­ter his first strike­out, he stood un­hap­pily in the bat­ter’s box for sev­eral sec- onds and then slowly made his way to the dugout with his head down.

Later, Puig called for a f ly ball, but at the last mo­ment, cen­ter fielder Joc Ped­er­son cut him off.

Mat­tingly said his main con­cern with Puig’s emo­tional re­ac­tion was it caus­ing him to miss time. Right now, the Dodgers do not want to lose Puig’s pro­duc­tion

“That’s the only thing that you’d worry about with slam­ming hel­mets or slam­ming bats, all those kinds of things,” Mat­tingly said. “You just don’t want some­body to get hurt.”

But Puig alone hasn’t been able to cure the of­fen­sive stag­na­tion. The Dodgers have scored three runs per game since his re­turn.

Mat­tingly pre­ferred not to dis­sect the of­fense’s is­sues. He needed more time to di­gest, he said.

“We’re try­ing to win games,” Mat­tingly said. “One game to the next, and any­thing that’s been go­ing on the past to this point re­ally means noth­ing. That means the good and the bad.”

LM Otero As­so­ci­ated Press

DODGERS STARTER Car­los Frias gath­ers him­self af­ter be­ing pulled from the game.

LM Otero As­so­ci­ated Press

JIMMY ROLLINS forces out Rougned Odor of the Texas Rangers at sec­ond base in the fifth in­ning.

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