On Tuesday the Dodgers started Clayton Kershaw on three days rest and then handcuffed their offense by benching their most productive hitter. Manager Don Mattingly benched Yasiel Puig after he struck out eight times in the first three games. He was 3 for 12 with two singles and a triple in the series. Given a chance to have him pinch hit in the ninth inning, Mattingly instead put him on the bases as a pinch-runner - despite his making more outs on the basepaths this season than any player in baseball.
Much was made about Mattingly's benching of an underperforming player in contrast to Mike Scioscia sticking with Josh Hamilton in his ALDS lineup for three games despite zero production. Keeping Hamilton in the lineup was one of the stupider things Scioscia has ever done and it certainly appears on the surface to be an even comparison except one crucial fact: there is a better comparison.
And it only shows how much stupider Mattingly is than Scioscia.
Benching Puig in the NLDS is comparable to Scioscia benching Mike Trout. Like Puig, Trout slumped something awful in the ALDS - worse, in fact. Trout was 1 for 12. His only hit was a solo homerun. Suppose C.J. Wilson had not been himself and pitched a shutout and the Angels had won game three by the score of 1-0... Would it have made any sense to bench Trout?
Of course not. As it made no sense to bench Puig. Josh Hamilton did not contribute one iota to the Angels winning the Division in 2014. Puig on the other hand was an all star centerpiece to the "other " L.A.-area team. Without Puig, Mattingly would have been fired at the All Star Break. Without him in Game 4, he should be dumped way ahead of any talk of firing Scioscia.