If you're looking for any sort of good news after the Dodgers were embarrassingly swept and shut out for three games in San Francisco, it's this: Yasiel Puig is apparently feeling much better and nearing a return.
I'd also like to personally thank Jon Heyman of CBS Sports for putting somewhat of a smile on my face after these last few days.
Every team goes through slumps, but the Dodgers' offense looks just plain pathetic right now. They haven't scored a run in 31 straight innings, and haven't won a game since a 1-0 squeaker over the Rockies on Sunday. They've dropped six of their last eight, and have a grand total of two runs in the last five games.
So yes, Puig's return cannot possibly come any quicker.
Before this recent slide, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke, and Alex Guerrero have done a great job in splitting some time in the outfield. It's been Ethier exclusively filling Puig's spot in right, and he's responded by hitting .314 with five homers and 14 RBIs. Guerrero (.307) and Van Slyke (.306) have each provided big hits as well.
That is, before these past few games. Now none of them can get anything going, which isn't a whole lot different than the rest of the team. This has just reinforced the fact that Puig is very missed, and taking his bat out of the lineup over the long haul is hard to overcome.
One thing I'd like to see Don Mattingly do, at least when Puig first comes back, is to insert him as the leadoff hitter. Both Joc Pederson and Jimmy Rollins are hitting .192 in that role, which is obviously really low. Pederson has been there for the last 19 games, and has 25 strikeouts. No matter how electric he looks, that's just way too many swings and misses, and it's stalling the offense as a whole. When he's hitting home runs that somewhat makes up for it, but that hasn't happened the last seven games.
Puig certainly has his fair share of strikeouts as well, but it's worth a shot. We all need to remember that Pederson is still a rookie who's adjusting to big league pitching. I liked it when Donny put him at the leadoff spot a few weeks ago, but now it's time to slip him back down the lineup. Puig leading off the game is a scary thought for the opposing pitcher, so it can definitely work.
But before all of that happens, Puig just needs to make sure he's completely healed up so there's not another setback. It looks like he's doing just that, which is good news for a team that really needs it right now.