Watch: Yasiel Puig scores from second on a groundball, makes circus catch, continues to excite everyone
In the first inning of Wednesday night's Dodgers-Rockies game in Denver, Puig lined a one-out double to leftfield off Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a one-hopper that deflected off the glove of first baseman Todd Helton. Helton recovered to get Gonzalez at first with a throw to Chatwood, but while he was doing that, Puig rounded third and headed home. Chatwood's throw beat Puig home, but it deflected off catcher Wilin Rosario's glove, and he scored standing up. Check it out for yourself:
With the double, Puig has extended his hitting streak to seven games and lifted his batting line to an absurd .449/.478/.757 with eight homers. The man has spent 30 days in the major leagues. He's gone to sleep with a slugging percentage below .700 on only two of those days.
With every passing day, more and more national writers are climbing on the bandwagon and calling for the 22-year-old Cuban to be part of the National League All-Star team. I can't claim to be the first to broach the topic. Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan (who has the scoop on Puig's defection) beat me by a few days. Since then, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler, ESPN's Buster Olney, MLB.com's Richard Justice, and SB Nation's Rob Neyer have similarly called for him to be part of the team, the delicate sensibilities of NL All-Star manager Bruce Bochy and Jonathan Papelbon be damned. If you read any of those writers on a regular basis, you know that agreement among them is a rare thing. Yet they agree on this.
To reiterate what I wrote two weeks ago and have since said on about 50 radio hits: Puig is a defensible choice for the All-Star Game as it straddles its dual roles of being an exhibition for the people and a competitive means of deciding home-field advantage in the World Series. Fans, at least those buying merchandise or expressing themselves on social media, want to see him there, though the case for that may need to be bolstered by his participation in the Final Vote balloting that starts after the bulk of the squads are announced on July 7. Meanwhile, there's little doubt that he can help the NL win, even in a bench role. One swing of the bat, trip around the bases, or throw of his could change a game, and the man has accumulated a library's worth of video evidence to that end.
Update: In the bottom of the fifth inning, Puig crashed into the rightfield wall while making a spectacular catch on a Nolan Arenado drive, with his left thigh hitting a padded wall divider. He remained down for several minutes while being attended to by the Dodgers' training staff. Here's the play:
Puig remained in the game long enough to hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning but departed before the Dodgers took the field. He sustained a bruised hip but precautionary x-rays were negative, and he's listed as day-to-day.