Yasiel Puig Back In Dodgers Lineup; Andre Ethier To Play Center, Matt Kemp Benched
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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers visited Chase Field, they celebrated clinching the NL West title by jumping into the ballpark’s trademark pool in right field.
Yasiel Puig was part of that celebration, and will be back in the lineup for the first time in four games Friday night when the Dodgers open a three-game series in Arizona.
Los Angeles’ mini pool party sparked some tension between the clubs, with several Diamondbacks players taking offense. The Dodgers added more heat to the rivalry by taking both games in Australia from March 22-23.
Puig went 3 for 5 with two RBIs in the second game, but he is just 3 for 15 since and has been held out of the starting lineup for the last three contests due to an injured left thumb suffered sliding into first base Saturday.
Manager Don Mattingly was hoping another full day of rest would be enough for Puig to get healthy.
Mattingly also decided to bench Matt Kemp and give Andre Ethier the start at center field.
Ethier has played in all ten games for the Dodgers, hitting .242, 8 RBIs and one homerun.
As for Kemp, who is coming off a lengthy lay off with an ankle injury, has played in five games. On Sunday against the Giants, he hit two home runs.
The Dodgers (6-4) are coming off a 7-6 loss to Detroit in 10 innings Wednesday despite rallying for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie it. Reliever Kenley Jansen took the loss after allowing the deciding home run, one night after blowing a save in the ninth before Los Angeles won 3-2 in 10.
Mattingly said he isn’t concerned about Jansen, who saved the season opener against Arizona.
“When guys struggle, it’s usually two in a row,” Mattingly said. “He is healthy. I’m not worried.”
Los Angeles will send Hyun-jin Ryu to the mound in this contest as he looks to bounce back from the shortest outing of his career.
Ryu (1-1, 3.86 ERA) gave up eight runs – six earned – and eight hits while walking three in two innings of an 8-4 loss to San Francisco last Friday.
It was a stark contrast from his previous two starts, as he allowed two hits in five scoreless innings of a 7-5 win over Arizona in Australia on March 23 before blanking San Diego for seven innings in Los Angeles’ 3-1 win March 30.
“I don’t really feel like he got thumped,” Mattingly said. “Things didn’t go his way, but I like the way he handled himself. He could have gotten irritated.”
The left-hander is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA in six starts against the Diamondbacks, with Paul Goldschmidt going 8 for 16 with a homer and two doubles off Ryu.
Goldschmidt went 4 for 9 in Australia and is batting .485 during an eight-game hitting streak against the Dodgers. He has a .370 average on the season, but went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts before Tony Campana’s fourth hit drove in Cliff Pennington in the top of the 10th of Thursday’s 6-5 victory.
Arizona (4-8) has won three of four since a dismal start and will look to keep rolling behind Brandon McCarthy, who has struggled in each of his two outings.
McCarthy (0-1, 7.82) gave up five runs over 6 2-3 innings of Arizona’s 9-8 loss to San Francisco on March 31 before allowing six runs in six frames of Saturday’s 9-4 defeat against Colorado.
The right-hander retired 10 straight batters after giving up a leadoff single before things fell apart against the Rockies.
“I really don’t know what happened,” McCarthy said. “I just sort of lost the feel for my sinker.”
McCarthy has been solid against the Dodgers, though, going 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in three starts.