The promotion of outfielder Yasiel Puig has produced unusual excitement surrounding a last-place team in the National League West. The Dodgers have the second-worst record in the NL. When almost everyone was predicting the Dodgers would go to the playoffs at least at the start of the season, now not many people, even die-hard Dodgers fans, want to watch this frustrating team. Puig should create some much-needed enthusiasm.
With Crawford and Matt Kemp on the disabled list, the Dodgers have a shortage of outfielders. Yes, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Skip Schumaker can play the outfield, but they are more comfortable in the infield.
Crawford and Kemp have hamstring injuries, and no one knows when they can return. These players have the most speed of any Dodgers on the 25-man roster, but having hamstring injuries eliminates that speed. Without their most athletic players, the Dodgers have a weaker offense and defense.
After having a fantastic Spring Training in which Puig hit over .500 and demonstrated excellent power, speed and defensive skills, many fans were upset when the Dodgers sent the talented Cuban down to Double-A. Manager Don Mattingly and general manager Ned Colletti claimed that Puig's talent was raw and needed development.
Every time the Dodgers have had an injury to a position player, Dodgers fans on social media have wanted them to promote Puig, especially when he performed incredibly well at Double-A and the Dodgers needed more offense. However, until now, they resisted the urge, angering many fans.
In Monday night's game, Puig had two hits and made an excellent defensive play in right field.
No matter how well Puig plays, the Dodgers will miss Crawford, who has been a wonderful offensive catalyst for them. When the injury occurred during Saturday's game in Denver, the Dodgers and Crawford thought it was a cramp. Denver has thin, dry air, making it difficult for players to keep hydrated, and when a player is dehydrated, he is prone to muscle cramps. However, the MRI revealed that Crawford has a strained hamstring.
For the second consecutive day, the Dodgers had to use a replacement starting pitcher because the regularly scheduled starter had an injury. Hyun-Jin Ryu had a bruised, swollen foot that prevented him from pitching, and Matt Magill started instead and gave up four home runs on Sunday.
Since Capuano has had two Tommy John surgeries, the Dodgers can't take a chance with him. Fife pitched wonderfully for 5 1/3 innings, allowing one run, and earned his first Major League victory.
Monday night's game ended on a high note when Puig caught a deep fly ball and threw a straight arrow to first base to complete a double play. Puig's youthful enthusiasm might enable the Dodgers to overcome their injuries and have a respectable season.