Yasiel Puig. It is almost impossible to avoid talking about him on a daily basis because of what he has meant to this Dodgers squad since his arrival. Recently he has been under scrutiny for wild base running, impatience at the plate and an overblown, misperceived "disrespect" for the game of baseball.
If you have grown tired of all the Puig talk, then Sunday's extra innings, walk-off home run in the Dodgers 1-0 victory will probably push you to the brink of sanity, because naturally, when Puig hits a walk-off home run there is so much more to talk about than just the homer itself.
But the only reason Puig had a chance to win the game in the 11th inning of a scoreless tie was due to a fantastic pitchers duel between Chris Capuano of the Dodgers and the Reds' Tony Cingrani.
Capuano followed up Tuesday's 4.1-inning, five-run start in Toronto with one of his best outings of the season, a 6.2-inning, three-hit shutout, with four strikeouts.
He has been impossible to get a feel for over the past month, with three poor starts where he gave up a combined 15 runs and 24 hits in 12.1 innings, and two starts, including Sunday's, with 13 scoreless innings, nine hits and 12 strikeouts.
The Dodgers were completely handled by the Reds starter Tony Cingrani, who struck out 11 batters in seven innings and gave up only hit. The rookie now has pitched in just 82.2 career innings and has racked up 99 strikeouts.
In 10.2 innings, Reds pitching struck out 20 Dodgers with every starter going down at least once, just one night after every starter reach base in the game. Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez struck out three times each.
So the Dodgers offense was completely stuck in a rut, with four hits in eleven innings. Despite striking out three times on Sunday, and 30 times in the month of July, Yasiel Puig's at bat with two outs in the eleventh still demanded full attention.
Many hoped for a walk off, nobody knew he would actually pull it off, but everybody knows that every time he is up to bat it is possible for something special to happen. Many say Puig is "struggling", but he is still hitting .299 in the month of July, if that's a bad month, then I'll take it.
As he hit the home run, his first career walk-off, he emphatically flipped the bat, commonplace for Puig now, threw his hands in the air on his way out of the batters box, and slid into home with his teammates surrounding the plate. Boy, did this celebration set the baseball world on edge, and you will probably hear about it for days to come.
The 1-0 victory gave the Dodgers three wins in the four-game series against the Reds, 26 wins in their last 32 games, and a 2.5-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. Monday is an off day, and then they will be hosting the New York Yankees for a two-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Tweets From #Dodgers Nation
Vin is infalible...Mr. Ching it is then.
— redovian (@redovian) July 28, 2013
League actually pitched two scoreless innings and has been good lately. Sign of things to come?
Brandon League, warming up. Let the rollercoaster begin. #dodgers
— Rudy Salinas (@DALLASFAN_88) July 28, 2013
Tweets posted the minute of the walk-off hit
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Puig either homers or becomes the 21st Dodgers K victim of the afternoon.
— Andrew Lange (@LangeSportsmemo) July 28, 2013
— Joshua Rodriguez (@sayjayrod) July 28, 2013
And then this happened...
— BODYSHOTS (@3POINTGROTTO) July 28, 2013
— Luv_Dodgers (@Luv_Dodgers) July 28, 2013
— Jeff DeSurra (@thejeqff) July 28, 2013
— Ryan David Ginsberg (@ryan_ginsberg) July 28, 2013
OMGOSH! PUIG! WOW! GO DODGERS!
— Steve Garcia (@SteveJGarcia) July 28, 2013
Well, you get the idea. Needless to say, it was a fun way to win a game.