Stephen Fife & Kris Medlen each went 6.2 innings today, except it took Medlen 116 pitches — 20 more than Fife — to get through them. That’s the good news for the Dodgers righty, who put up the longest outing of his young career. The bad news is that two of the 86 pitches he delivered, each in the fifth inning, ended up over the fence. That includes one to Medlen himself, the first of his career, and that sadly provided the margin in a 2-1 Atlanta win.
The problem, really, is that no one other than Yasiel Puig is doing much on offense. Andre Ethier has been decent enough covering in center, but he’s down to .229/.316/.348 after another oh-fer. Even Scott Van Slyke isn’t contributing anything when he isn’t hitting homers — his OBP is now at .300 — and don’t get me started on the continued existence of Luis Cruz. Hanley Ramirez drove in the only run pinch-hitting for Ethier, but Clayton Kershaw — of all people! — came in to run for him, which doesn’t really give me a lot of confidence in Don Mattingly‘s assertion that Ramirez is starting tomorrow. (Skip Schumaker did at least have three hits, all singles.)
Speaking of Mattingly, we once again ran into some bunting trouble down one in the ninth against Craig Kimbrel. Schumaker reached on a single, but then Tim Federowicz was asked to lay down the bunt, despite having Cruz and Mark Ellis (on an 0-16 skid) behind him. Federowicz failed the first time, failed the second time, and nearly failed a third time on a ball in the dirt; with the at-bat taken away from him, he was blown away by Kimbrel. Nevermind that Federowicz isn’t exactly the greatest hitter on the planet himself, what you’ve done is taken one of your three precious outs and said, “here, take one.”
To Mattingly’s credit, he did replace Cruz after Federowicz whiffed, but brought in Ramon Hernandez rather than Juan Uribe, sacrificing both some small amounts of OBP and speed. (The fact that we’re talking about Juan Uribe here is not lost on me.) Hernandez grounded out, Ellis struck out (make that 0-17) and Puig was left standing on deck, depriving Dodger Stadium — and the entire baseball world, really — of what would have been just a fantastic showdown.
As for everyone’s favorite superstar, Puig didn’t hit another homer, but he did contribute two hits. Let it never be said that the man is boring, because we saw the highs and lows of his game tonight.
In the fifth inning, Fife allowed an infield single to Andrelton Simmons after the Medlen homer. Jason Heyward singled, and when Simmons attempted to go to third… oh good lord, that is just not right. (Via SBN)
That is just… everything. It should replace the Mona Lisa. The best part is, Cruz didn’t even have to move his glove. The throw was right here, dead on, right on a line.
But in the eighth inning, we saw the … shall we say, “less refined” side of Puig. He topped an infield grounder to short, and had it easily beat out thanks to his outstanding speed. Unfortunately, he didn’t just do the easy thing and continue running, instead opting for this ugly mess:
Puig was seen clenching his right fist while in right field in the top of the ninth, and let’s all pray to whatever deity you support that this is nothing, because I am not sure this fanbase can handle it being something.
Also, Yasiel: NEVER EVER DO THAT AGAIN. Nunca vuelvas a hacer eso! You stay away from Nick Punto no matter what you do.
Of note in Albuquerque tonight, Dee Gordon played second base for the first time as a professional. It’s unclear if that’s a long-term move or not, though Ken Gurnick noted earlier today that the team is concerned about infield depth since Mark Ellis & Hanley Ramirez are both aching. Gurnick also said that for the first time, the club is “considering getting Gordon some outfield time,” which is mildly interesting to think about but probably not all that relevant. As I’ve long said, if Gordon can’t hit, then it doesn’t matter where he plays, and the last thing this organization needs is more outfielders right now anyway.