MLB analyst says Diamondbacks' nemesis Puig could be downfall of Dodgers in playoffs

Arizona Sports News online

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the rest of Major League baseball have gotten an up close and personal look at Los Angeles Dodgers’ young rising star Yasiel Puig.

In many ways Arizona helped elevate Puig’s exposure during the bench-clearing brawl at Dodger Stadium back in mid-June which jump-started LA’s best run of baseball in franchise history. Don Mattingly’s team ran away with the National League West leaving the once first-place Dbacks  on the outside looking in on a division title but likely a playoff birth, as well.

Puig could be an Achilles because he does play so out of control

As impressive as Puig has been there have been some bumps in the Southern California road. He’s been benched by Mattingly for disciplinary reasons and at times erratic play.

It’s a storyline to watch when the post-season begins next month.

“Puig could be an Achilles because he does play so out of control,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told in a recent telephone interview. “He has shown the ability to make aggressive, knucklehead-type mistakes and those are the kind that can cost you a game and, in turn, cost you a post-season series.”

Gomez says because the stakes are so much higher in the playoffs and momentum can, at times, carry a team all the way to a World Series Championship Puig could be a detriment.

“I would say that is a potential issue for the Dodgers,” he explained. “They have even said so. Don Mattingly has even said so. Some of the Dodger players have said so. He needs to play under more control.”

Puig, who at the time was only in the majors a few weeks, was drilled in the back by former Diamondback pitcher Ian Kennedy. A bench-clearing brawl ensued and later started a war of words between players on both teams and even Arizona majority owner Ken Kendrick who said there were some very “over-the-top antics by some of the Dodgers.”

The Diamondbacks have won eight of 15 this season against the Dodgers. The two teams will conclude their season series with four games next week at Chase Field.