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Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasiel Puig’s Swift Fall From Grace

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A few years ago, it looked like Yasiel Puig was going to be the next big star in Los Angeles. The Cuban-born outfielder had immediate success with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being called-up in June of 2013. Three years later however, his future with the team is extremely murky.

Puig was officially demoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The move came one day after the Dodgers acquired Josh Reddick and Rich Hill from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Grant Holmes, Jharel Cotton, and Frankie Montas. Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi decided to send Puig down to Triple-A after this trade was made, so as to make room for Reddick. The team tried to trade him before the 4 P.M. deadline. They were unable to find a viable trade partner however. Puig himself was told on Monday that he would either be traded or sent down.

Zaidi was certainly justified in his decision to demote his All-Star right fielder. Puig just hasn’t been the same player this season that he’s been in past years. He’s battled through a hamstring injury and has seen his playing time shrink due to decreased performance. Puig has played in 81 games this season and is hitting .260 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs. The slugging outfielder is not putting up the numbers that the Dodgers expected him to.

Hamstring problems held Puig back in 2015 as well. He only played in 79 games all of last season because of a reoccurring issue with his left hamstring. He batted just .255 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs. The Dodgers made the playoffs in 2015, but he was basically useless for them. In the NLDS against the New York Mets, he did not get a single hit in six at-bats and also struck out three times. The Dodgers lost the series in five games.

Things look very bleak for Puig right now. It’s hard to believe that in 2013, many people thought that he was going to be one of the best players in baseball for the next decade. The Dodgers signed him to a seven-year, $42 million contract back in June of 2012. A power-hitting outfielder from Cuba with a rocket arm in the outfield, Puig had all the potential to be a great player in the MLB.

A year after being signed, he was promoted to the the Majors. He hit .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs in 104 games that season. Puig had an even better season in 2014, batting .296 with 16 homers and 69 RBIs. This earned him a spot on the NL All-Star team for the first time in his career. Puig was looking like a star in the making at that point. Unfortunately, then came the fall.

Puig’s decline has been surprisingly swift. It’s really happened over the last two years, caused partially by his hamstring injuries and mainly by his inability to produce while healthy. If Puig had been putting up good numbers while healthy, he might still be with the Dodgers instead of Triple-A.

Yasiel Puig could still have a future in the MLB, but his days in LA are most likely coming to an end. The Dodgers have already moved on from him. He had the potential to succeed in Los Angeles, but was never really able to. Maybe he just wasn’t meant for Hollywood.

Aspring sports broadcaster/writer. Freshman Television-Radio major at Ithaca College. Die-hard Mets, Giants, Nets, and Devils fan.

Arizona Diamondbacks

D’Backs Slugger JD Martinez Goes Deep Four Times Against Dodgers

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Last night was a historic one in LA to say the least, as Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder JD Martinez went deep four times in his team’s 13-0 crushing of the Dodgers.

Arizona’s win marked their 11th in a row. Only the Cleveland Indians (12, active) have a longer winning streak in baseball this season.

Martinez’s 4 for 5, 6 RBI performance marked the 18th four-home run game in Major League history, 16th in the modern era (since 1900), and second this year (Scooter Gennett, June 6).

This is the second time that MLB has seen multiple four-home run games in a season. Mike Cameron and Shawn Green accomplished the rare feat in 2002.

Each home run for Martinez came in consecutive at-bats off a different pitcher. He took starter Rich Hill deep for a two-run shot in the fourth, hit solo dingers in the seventh and eighth off Pedro Baez and Josh Fields, respectively, and finished the feat with a two-run blast off Wilmer Font in the ninth.

Take a look at all four:

Two solo dingers sandwiched between two two-run dingers. Not too shabby!

Here are some notable facts about Martinez’s monster game, per ESPN Stats & Info:

The D’Backs are also now the only franchise in MLB with a perfect game, 20-strikeout game, and four-home run game. The first two are courtesy of a man named Randy Johnson—you may have heard of him.

Martinez, 30, was acquired by the D’Backs from the Detroit Tigers on July 18. In 40 games with Arizona, he’s hitting .257/.337/.688 with 18 homers and 40 RBIs. Overall on the year, he carries a .285/.367/.645 slash line with 34 homers and 79 RBIs.

With a record of 80-58, Arizona leads their division rival Colorado Rockies by 6.5 games for the top spot in the NL Wild Card race.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Rich Hill Loses No-Hit Bid In The 10th Inning On A Walk-Off Home Run

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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill lost a no-hitter in the most painful way possible on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The first hit he allowed was a walk-off home run in the tenth inning.

Hill was on the mound for the Dodgers as they faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in what was the third game of their four-game series. Pirates starter Trevor Williams went toe-to-toe with Hill for the first eight innings. Going into the ninth inning, neither pitcher had given up a run. The major difference between the two was that Hill had yet to allow a baserunner.

The perfect game almost ended in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pirates first baseman Josh Bell hit a hard line drive toward right field. Before it had the chance to land in the outfield for a base hit however, Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley made an unbelievable full-extension catch.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers were unable to give Hill any run support. Despite having a perfect game heading into the ninth inning, he did not have a lead to protect. Hill had 10 strikeouts through eight innings of work. The first batter of the bottom of the ninth inning was Jordy Mercer, and he hit a ground ball toward third base that was bobbled by Logan Forsythe. This untimely error ended Hill’s chances of achieving one of the rarest feats in baseball.

Luckily, Hill retired the next three batters and got out of the ninth inning without allowing a hit. The Dodgers could not get anything going in the top of the tenth inning, so the game remained scoreless. With Hill’s no-hitter still intact, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not hesitate to send him back out to the mound. Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the tenth inning. With one swing, he was able to give the Pirates their first hit of the game, as well as their first run. Harrison hit a ball to deep left field that just ended up making it over fence. Dodgers left fielder Curtis Granderson attempted to make a leaping grab and rob Harrison, but he came up short.

Hill lost his no-hitter in one of the most painful ways possible. He had a no-hitter going through the first nine innings, but had to keep pitching because his team could not give him any run support. As per ESPN Stats & Info, Hill is the first MLB pitcher in the last 100 seasons to go at least nine innings and allow one or fewer hits, not give up a walk, and still get a loss.

It is a shame that Hill took a loss after pitching as well as he did. This loss probably will not affect the Dodgers that much in the long run, as they are 89-36 on the season and have a 21-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West. Hill is the one who will be most impacted by the result of the game, as he will most likely never come this close to a no-hitter ever again. For Hill, this game will always be considered the one that could have been.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers Land Yu Darvish From Rangers

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have landed Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish, a move that will bolster the Dodgers rotation and provide Darvish a much-needed change of scenery.

It was not immediately known what the Rangers would receive in return for Darvish.

In addition to Darvish, the Dodgers added depth to their bullpen by working out deals for Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

The Darvish deal was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and later confirmed by ESPN.

Darvish is 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA his season, his worst in five years in the majors.

 

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