Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was visibly upset following Saturday’s loss that ended with Yasiel Puig caught stealing at second base. He went in without a slide and the decision to run was one Puig made on his own.
“It’s a bad baseball play,” Roberts said. “Plays like that, when you’re trying to win a championship, can’t happen.” Puig was not in the lineup Sunday, with the benching serving as an extension of Roberts’ frustration and disapproval.
“When I put a player in the lineup, every situation, every pitch, every out is important,” Roberts said prior to the series finale with the San Francisco Giants.
“It’s important that the guys I write in the lineup, I can trust them.” Roberts had not spoken with Puig since the baserunning gaffe. The second-year manager did not view starting Curtis Granderson in right field as delivering a specific message.
“I’ve got the guys that I want out there today. It’s pretty simple, actually,” Roberts explained. “Whatever message [Puig] gets from it, I’m putting the guys out there that I feel give us the best chance to win.”
In a vacuum, Sunday’s benching is directly correlated to the previous night’s events. Though, Roberts intimated the club has dealt with internal matters involving Puig, which also factored into his decision.
“There’s been some things, you look back, that I’ve kept notes of,” Roberts said. Puig did not receive treatment on his ankle and was presumed to be available to pinch-hit.
Following Saturday’s loss, he said the twisted ankle bothered him some, but expressed little concern. Puig added his lack of a slide into second base was due to twisting his ankle the moment he was about to leave his feet.
The saga puts a bit of a damper on what’s otherwise been a bounce-back season for the dynamic right fielder. Since Spring Training, Puig had drawn praise from the Dodgers front office, Roberts, the coaching staff and his teammates for being an improved presence in the clubhouse.