LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig gets a start for the Dodgers in Game 3 of their National League Division Series against the Nationals, and he’s not alone among right-handers against left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
Puig starts in right field in place of Josh Reddick, Charlie Culberson starts at second base for Chase Utley, and Howie Kendrick starts in left field after Andrew Toles started Games 1-2 in Washington. For Puig, it his 13th start in 13 games against left-handed pitchers since returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City, compared to one start in 19 games against right-handers.
"His overall game starts with the overall acceptance of any particular role I have for him, and the buy in,” manager Dave Roberts said. “That's been really apparent for me and his teammates.”
Puig on the season hit .261/.313/.471 against left-handers, and since his return in September was even better, hitting .317 (13-for-41) with four home runs, three doubles and 11 RBI. Roberts said a mechanical adjustment to Puig’s swing has greatly helped.
"He's more athletic, he's a little bit more handsy,” Roberts explained. “He's got a little more rhythm into his swing and his load. He's not as static.”
So far in this series, Puig is 0-for-1 with three walks, including two intentional walks. He was walked intentionally by lefty Sammy Solis in Game 1, and walked unintentionally by southpaw Mark Rzepczynski in Game 2.
"I think he's going to have a big game today," Roberts said of Puig.