And the correct answer is: “Nothing.”
The question: “What do four games mean?”
There is not a baseball player alive who would want you to put stock in any four-game stretch. They play 162 games in a season, and then if you’re fortunate, more in the postseason. Every player has unproductive stretches.
When it is the first four games of the season, however, they just sort of stand out more. The numbers say Yasiel Puig is hitting .118 (two for 17), and momentarily you have to fight uneasiness.
So we all agree, right? Four games = nothing.
But you know me, I’m a big numbers guy. If you delve slightly deeper, the Puig numbers do not grow more attractive. Puig did not hit at the end of last season nor in the postseason, either.
If you combine his last 35 regular season games and four playoff games to his current start, you get this: .224 average, three home runs and 12 RBI in his last 43 overall games. And if you subtract the seven games in mid-September when he was hot at extreme hitter-friendly Coors Field and Wrigley Field, he’s hit .177 with one home run and six RBI in 38 games (and 43 strikeouts).
That’s not exactly MVP territory for the ultra-talented Puig. Right now, he’s simply not hitting the ball hard. Possibly trying to do too much with right-handed power hitters Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez gone.
We’ve grown to expect a lot from Puig, who just reeks incredible ability. Maybe – hopefully, for the Dodgers -- there is no carryover effect from last season. This is just a crummy four-game stretch that will begin to evaporate Saturday night in the Arizona air. If so, he'll have to do it off the bench. Andre Ethier is starting for him in right.
And just possibly it should be kept in mind this has been going on since the middle of August.