The Los Angeles Dodgers division lead in the National League West is 2.0 games, and that’s with the current struggles atop of their lineup. Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon, 2014 All-stars, haven’t given Los Angeles the type of production over the last month or so that sent them to the mid-summer classic in Minnesota.
The 1-2 punch at the top of the Dodgers lineup has been a big reason for their success in 2014, starting with Gordon. His batting average has hovered around .300 longer than expected, and he has enough stolen bases to call himself the MLB-leader in that category with 58. Behind him in the batting order, Puig has feasted off of that success.
Gordon’s presence on the base paths has garnered the attention of every pitcher, leaving them liable to making a huge mistake that Puig could jump all over. And a big reason why Puig has hit .321 with runners in scoring position this year.
It hasn’t been all that great, as of late.
In his last 23 games, Gordon is hitting .250 with 18 strikeouts, one walk, two extra base hits, seven stolen bases and 14 runs. He’s also walked just three times since the All-star break. As expected, Puig has fallen into a slump of his own. In that same stretch, Puig is hitting.193 with 21 strikeouts, four RBIs, two extra base hits and hasn’t homered in his last 170 at bats.
One can speculate that fatigue is the reasoning behind these numbers, considering both guys are playing in their first full MLB season. Manager, Don Mattingly, has found ways to give them occasional days off lately.
The Dodgers star-studded lineup should leave them with hitters to fall back on but Puig and Gordon’s success is more important than you think. You can’t have dinner unless the table is set, and that’s how this Dodgers household lineup works. If Los Angeles wants to make a deep postseason run, a 1-2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke is a good start, but Puig and Gordon could decide the finish on the other end.