PHILADELPHIA -- A day after Yasiel Puig hit the key home run in the Los Angeles Dodgers' win -- and made a base-running blunder that made it more stressful than it needed to be -- he was not in the lineup for Thursday’s series finale here.
A bit less playing time might be something Puig has to get used to, manager Don Mattingly said, because the team would like to get Carl Crawford more playing time and Andre Ethier has provided the most consistent offense from any of the outfielders.
"I think the days off are good for Yasiel, honestly," Mattingly said. "I don’t know if he was just used to playing less games in Cuba, but his focus just seems sharper when he’s getting a day-off-a-week or something like that."
The plan, Mattingly said, is to get Crawford one start per series. Since returning from the disabled list -- he missed 75 games with a strained oblique muscle -- Crawford has had just 16 plate appearances in 13 games. He started in left field Sunday, with Ethier moving from left to right.
Platooning the four outfielders, each of whom has made at least one All-Star team, is made a bit more problematic for Mattingly by two factors: Three bat left-handed and Crawford only plays one position. His arm isn’t strong enough to handle center or right field.
Ethier’s .834 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) is the best among Dodgers’ outfielders, followed by Joc Pederson (.802), Scott Van Slyke (.779), Puig (.756) and Crawford (.602). Mattingly said he and Crawford haven’t discussed his diminished role since one conversation when he came off the DL when the team was in Atlanta July 21.
"It’s not Carl’s fault he got hurt, but he did and Andre took off," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers have the highest payroll in North American sports history at roughly $300 million. Making $21.6 million, Crawford is the highest-paid reserve outfielder in baseball history.