Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kemp getting after Puig is a good thing

In case you haven't heard, the Dodgers extended their lead in the NL West to four games with an 11-3 drubbing of the Rockies on Monday.  That, combined with the Giants falling to the Diamondbacks, only pushes the Dodgers closer to their goal of back-to-back division titles.

The eight-run sixth inning should've been the biggest news of the night, but it wasn't.  Instead, it was Matt Kemp appearing to be very angry with Yasiel Puig, as he was seen yelling at him in the dugout.  It's not like they threw punches, but the little that we saw on video showed that Kemp was clearly PO'd.

What caused Kemp to get so angry?  Well, it was ironically something Puig did during that big sixth that set Kemp off.  With Puig on first from a walk and Dee Gordon on second, Adrian Gonzalez stoked an RBI double to right.  Puig, for some reason, never advanced to third, perhaps getting a bad read on the ball, or just not thinking he'd make it. 

Next up stepped Kemp with runners on first and second, and he struck out.

Apparently, Kemp wasn't happy about Puig not getting to third, and giving Kemp an easy RBI opportunity, especially in hitter-friendly Coors Field.

A lot has been made of this today, as Kemp was seen walking the length of the dugout giving Puig a piece of his mind.  It wasn't the most demonstrative situation, but Kemp was clearly making his point that Puig needs to run the bases better.

And for that, I say this: Good for Kemp.

After Friday night's shellacking in San Francisco, the Dodgers' offense had to pick things up.  In the three games since then, they certainly have, scoring 32 runs, or about 10.7 runs a game.  I'd say they certainly responded.

Still, the Dodgers have had consistency issues on offense all season, and as good as they have looked of late, that can quickly turn around if they fall asleep again.  Kemp has had a resurgent season, and because he has the numbers again, I applaud him for stepping up and calling out Puig for not doing the little things the right way.

Ultimately, Puig ended up scoring, the Dodgers won in a runaway, it was another good night at the ballpark.  But the point remains the same that it's good to see the veterans on the Dodgers hold everyone to a high standard.  Much like $215 million man Clayton Kershaw competes every game as if he's trying to make a big league roster, Kemp is showing the young buck how to take care of business.

And who knows, maybe Puig was dogging it a bit, and now got the message that he can't do that anymore.  That little bit of extra hustle could be all the difference in October.  Kemp knows that, now let's hope Puig does as well.

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