Yasiel Puig

USA Today

Puig Gonna Puig

Kershaw gonna Kershaw.

April 16, 2019 - 11:13 am
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Yesterday wasn't just any old day at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw was back on the bump. Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer were back in town. And more importantly, so was Yasiel Puig. 

The Supernova known as Your Friend Puig was a Dodger for six seasons. And he rode back into town in the most Puig Way Ever. 

By almost not showing up. 

There might not be a better way for Yaisel Puig to make his triumphant return to Dodger Stadium than by rolling in 70 minutes late. There was a press conference scheduled specifically for Puig that he almost no-showed. He completely air-mailed the National League Ring presentation Dave Roberts and Dodgers management held for the four former Dodgers. Again, text book Puig. 

And then after all of that, Puig strolled to the dish in the first inning of Clayton Kershaw's 2019 debut. He stared down the last pitcher to win an MVP. After he fell behind in the count 1-2, he launch a freaking Rawlings to the moon. 

Perfect. Puig. 

Look, I’ll get to the bigger story in a second -- The Return of Clayton Kershaw -- but let me have one more minute for my man Yasiel. Because he is a freaking showman. You know why you show up 70 minutes late for a press conference, blow off a ring ceremony, and then drop a bomb on a 3-time Cy Young Award winner? Because you can. 

And maybe the best thing about that is Dave Roberts' reaction to it all. He basically said, Puig's gonna Puig. 

Here's what else Doc was happy about. Everything that happened for Kershaw AFTER Yaisel went big fly. 

Because Clayton Kershaw went out and threw like Clayton Kershaw. And if you've been watching the Dodgers this spring and seen the freaking MASH unit that they've been running out to the bump, you couldn’t ask for anything more. 

The Dodgers rotation has been STRUGGGLING. 

Rich Hill is still hurt. Hyun-Jin Ryu is down with a groin injury. Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda all have gotten knocked around. Ross Stripling has been the team's only consistent starter and the plan was for him to come out of the pen, not be their stopper every fifth day. 

But Kersh is back. And while everybody keeps talking about the velo on his fastball, it may have only been hovering around 90, he was wiping guys out with the crooked stuff last night. 

Uncle Charlie was going 12-6. The slider was falling off the table. For a guy who has been living in the bullpen and throwing simulated games, the actual game looked pretty damn good -- 7 innings, just 84 pitches, six Ks and just four singles after Yasiel bat-flipped on him. Every one of those innings Kershaw threw meant the Dodger bully didn't have to. 

And then in the 9th, Joc Pederson made sure every Dodger fan went home happy when he walked the Reds off. 

When you spent a week getting your teeth kicked in by the Cardinals and the Brewers, you take whatever win you can get. And when your ace spends the first three weeks of the season on the shelf and has Puig pimp one on him in his first inning back, getting that W has to feel like two. 

Puig gonna Puig. But more importantly for the two-time defending National League champs. Kershaw gonna Kershaw. 

And damn, did the Dodgers need that.