The Los Angeles Dodgers have sent their two best starting pitchers to the mound in Games 1 and 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals and neither time did they walk away with a victory. Both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitched very well for the team, but the high-powered offense that carried the Dodgers through the NLDS has disappeared so far in the NLCS.
Carl Crawford is still batting .300, and Mark Ellis stepped up huge from his average NLDS performance to post a .333 batting average so far in the NLCS, but that is about as far as the Dodgers’ offense has went.
The Dodgers will send out rookie starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 tonight, and he is going to have to be a lot better than he was in the NLDS. However, he is not the only rookie who needs to have a big performance. With Hanley Ramirez‘s health up in the air and the veteran Adrian Gonzalez not doing much of anything to this point, Yasiel Puig is going to have to get out of the hitless funk he is in and start doing what he has done this entire year.
It was Puig who lit a spark under the Dodgers during the regular season, and they never looked back as they went from worst to first. This is starting to feel a whole lot like that same situation. The Dodgers are faltering against the Cardinals, and it’s not looking like they have a very bright future in the NLCS unless they can get it turned around immediately with these two games in Los Angeles. Puig can be the spark that the Dodgers need right now.
Ryu is quite possibly going to have to pitch his best game so far this season to keep up with Adam Wainwright tonight, and Puig is going to have to try his best to do anything that could help this team. Whether it’s a huge home run, beating out a grounder or just laying himself out in the field, Puig has the ability to put this team on his back and light a spark under every other member of the Dodgers.
Los Angeles needs these two rookies to lead them to victory tonight in Game 3, or their postseason will be all but over.