If anything, the first two weeks of Yasiel Puig's big league career have been fun to watch. Sure the Dodgers are just 6-7, but Puig continues to run roughshod through his competition, essentially extending what he was doing in spring training into June.
Puig is the only Dodger ever to have eight multi-hit games in his first 13 contests. It took the immortal Gibby Brack 14 games until he got his eighth multi-hit affair in 1937. Then there is this.
Yasiel Puig is the 11th player since 1900 with 23+ hits in 1st career 13 games. In case you're wondering, 11 guys in 113 years is not a lot.— Amy Brachmann (@AmyBrachmann) June 17, 2013
Over at SB Nation, Mike Bates wondered if Puig's start was the best ever. I mean, Puig is hitting .479/.500/.771. He could go 0-for-28 and still be hitting over .300. But while Puig's numbers have been outstanding, they have also been a little odd.
For instance, Puig has scored just seven runs despite a .500 on-base percentage and batting at or near the top of the order in every game (he has started eight times batting leadoff, once batting second, and three times hitting cleanup). Four of those runs came on Puig's home run, meaning he has only been driven in three times by someone other than himself.
How is this possible, you ask? Well, it comes down to the same problems that the non-Puig Dodgers have had all season, hitting with runners in scoring position.
I scoured the game logs for the last two weeks and examined the 22 times Puig has reached base either via single, double, walk, hit by pitch, or force out. The other Dodgers have had 43 plate appearances with Puig on base and the results, well the results are not good.
With Puig on base, in general, the Dodgers are hitting .205/.279/.282. That's bad. But it gets worse.
With Puig on first base, that's where all the damage has been done. The Dodgers in that scenario are 8-for-19 (.421) with two walks and a home run. But outside of the home run - hit by Andre Ethier after Puig was hit in the face by Ian "10 Games" Kennedy - none of those hits, all singles, have driven Puig in. Puig advanced to third on two of the seven singles, and was thrown out on perfect throw by Gerardo Parra trying to do the same.
But with Puig in scoring position, his Dodgers teammates are 0-for-20 with two walks, five strikeouts and a pair of double plays.
Puig scored on two of the ground outs, and was forced out at home on another. In Puig's second game, the Padres were playing the infield back with one out in the first inning and Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to second base, and Puig should have scored but he didn't break right away and was stranded on third base.
Puig also has 10 RBI in his 13 games, but shockingly none in his last eight games, despite hitting .517 (15-for-29) during that span. It has mostly come down to a bit of bad luck, basically nobody around Puig hitting worth a damn, and Puig hitting almost entirely singles.
In his last eight games, Puig has come to the plate with somebody on base seven times and he has four hits, all singles. Puig's one extra-base hit in the last games, a double, came while leading off an inning.
With runners in scoring position over the last eight games, Puig is 2-for-4. Both singles were hit too hard to the outfield to score a gimpy-groined Mark Ellis and a notoriously slow Gonzalez from second base.
In other words, the Dodgers haven't taken full advantage of their budding superstar just yet. Everyone not clicking on all cylinders at the same time has pretty much been the story of the 2013 Dodgers.