Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was not swayed when Yasiel Puig hit three home runs in the first series of the season. He was not swayed when Puig hit five more in a 10-day span in June. And he will not be swayed after Puig went deep twice on Friday, including a majestic go-ahead homer in the ninth.
Despite the power display, Puig started Saturday in his usual spot in the batting order against right-handed pitchers. For the 37th time in his 78 starts this season, Puig was in the No. 8 spot.
“The easy thing to do is put him right in the middle of the order,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game at Marlins Park. “But I think the right thing, at this moment, is to stay the course. I’ve talked about the length in our lineup, and I think it puts him in a good spot in the order. And the results are there, so I think there’s no reason to change it.”
Puig entered Saturday with 18 homers, one shy of the career high he reached as a rookie in 2013. With an .800 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, he ranks sixth on the team. He still batted behind Logan Forsythe (.699 OPS) and Yasmani Grandal (.789 OPS) on Saturday.
Hill returns to Marlins park
Rich Hill shook his head when he heard the question. No, he insisted, he was not thinking much about Sept. 10, 2016, when he pitched a perfect game for seven innings but was removed by Roberts for the eighth. Concerned about the blisters on Hill’s left hand, Roberts took him out rather than risk aggravating the problem.
Hill accepted the decision, although he did not agree with it. He indicated on Saturday that his mind was far from that night.
“No, no,” Hill said. “I’m just looking forward to getting into the second half, really, to be honest with you. Last year was last year. Last outing was last outing. I’m usually pretty good about focusing in on the moment, and all that good stuff. Just looking forward to competing on every pitch tomorrow. That’s it.”
After altering his delivery in June, shifting into a hybrid motion that does not include a full windup, Hill has found a rhythm in 2016. He has a 1.73 earned-run average in his last four starts. Opposing batters are hitting .154 against him.
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