Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Puig vs. The Dodgers' 2013 Nightmare

USA Today also pulled out all the stops when reporting on Yasiel Puig's recent call-up, dubbing it the potential end to the Dodgers' nightmare season:

Kasten remains optimistic about the future while still believing the Dodgers can win this year, and he hopes the two can go hand-in-hand.

They tried to win with their own players. They tried the free agent market. They tried trading prospects for players with big contracts.

Now, in the name of Yasiel Puig, they are hoping the international market pays off, resurrecting the glory days of Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo.

You know the hype in Los Angeles is surreal when everyone was talking about Puig on Monday, almost forgetting the Dodgers were facing San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin for the first time since April11, when a brawl resulted in a broken collarbone for Los Angeles starter Zack Greinke.

The Dodgers need a tourniquet as much as they need a five-tool outfielder: Six starting position players and five starting pitchers — total 2013 salary, $134 million — have spent significant time on the disabled list. Monday, Carl Crawford became the latest.

"Have you ever seen a team lose five starters in a week?" Kasten said, referring to Crawford, center fielder Matt Kemp, catcher A.J. Ellis and starting pitchers Chris Capuano and Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is expected to miss one start. "I've never seen that happen. I hate to make excuses for injuries, so I don't, but this is truly unprecedented this last week.

"Still, we are good enough to win the way we are. Hopefully, this is all short term."

Crawford's hamstring strain prompted Puig's call-up, but the Dodgers say their 22-year-old Cuban outfielder, who elicited comparisons to Bo Jackson during a torrid spring training, is not being summoned to rescue a season gone horribly wrong.

Then again, we've seen other Hollywood scripts with much wilder imaginations, so who knows? Puig was hitting .313 with eight homers and 37 RBI at Class AA Chattanooga, Tenn.

"Any time somebody walks into the stadium and gets an opportunity, it's a chance for the start of something big" Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told news reporters. "That's kind of the cool part, really. You don't know if you're going to end up seeing (Ken) Griffey Jr. or the next Fernando, or whoever it is.

"You saw with the Angels and Mike Trout, he came up and things turned around."

Puig certainly was amazing Monday night. Let's see if this is indeed the tonic the Dodgers need to get momentum back (not to mention get health back).