The Dodgers-Giants rivalry went up a notch on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, while the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig was at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Puig fouled off a pitch — that he thought he should’ve crushed — and angrily slapped his bat, something he did in Monday night’s game as well. San Francisco catcher Nick Hundley didn’t appreciate Puig’s antics.
The two players started jawing, and then came the fireworks. Puig gave Hundley a couple of shoves, and naturally, the benches and bullpens cleared. Dodgers first base coach George Lombard held Hundley back in scrum, but Puig still was able to get a slap on Hundley’s helmet.
Benches clear in Giants-Dodgers game with Nick Hundley and Yasiel Puig at the center of it. pic.twitter.com/r3ZHHdzL3A
— MLB (@MLB) August 15, 2018
Both players were ejected from the game.
Alright, first of all, a fight starting over a bat slap is a bit much. Hundley had no reason to make a big thing out of this. But Puig obviously can’t start shoving and trying to punch the guy either.
I guess Puig must've broken the unwritten rules about fouling a pitch back.
— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) August 15, 2018
Like, did Puig get hounded by one of baseball’s self-appointed Sherriffs for being pissed he fouled off a pitch?
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 15, 2018
Yasiel Puig (via interpreter): “(Hundley) told me to stop complaining and step back in the box … he just kept coming after me and kept complaining. I wasn’t going to let them disrespect our house.”
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) August 15, 2018
Yasiel Puig, asked if he expects to be suspended: “If they suspend me, I think they have to suspend him. I’m just going to let my agent do his job.”
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) August 15, 2018
Puig especially needs to have better self-control there when you consider the Dodgers are in a fight for not just the NL West, but a playoff berth in general. The Giants went on to the win the game 2-1, putting the Dodgers 1.5 games back in the NL West and 2.5 games back for the second NL Wild Card slot. Los Angeles is behind multiple teams in each race and has lost five straight games.
Now Puig — who has 15 homers and .805 OPS this season — will surely be suspended multiple games, with only a month and a half left in the season. With closer Kenley Jansen already out due to an irregular heartbeat (his absence has been heavily felt during the five-game losing streak), the Dodgers can’t really afford to continue losing key players at this point.