In last night’s game between NL West rivals the Dodgers and Giants, Yasiel Puig and Nick Hundley exchanged shoves, causing the benches to clear.
The Dodgers made a lot of noise at the trade deadline acquiring the biggest name on the market in Manny Machado. They showed that they remained all in on this season. Meanwhile, the Giants did so this offseason by bringing in veterans Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. While they’ve both had bumpy roads to get here, they are now in the middle of a playoff push.
The Dodgers are currently just two games back in their division, with the Giants three games behind them. With 41 games left in the season anything can happen in their push to the playoffs. Both teams are playing under a lot of pressure and are clawing with each other to grab either the division title or a Wild Card birth. Last night, all of the emotions of their rivalry, combined with the playoff race boiled over in a shoving match between Yasiel Puig and Nick Hundley.
After Puig fouled off a pitch from Tony Watson, he expressed clear frustration with not connecting on the pitch. He said he knew that it would be the best pitch Watson would offer him that at-bat and was upset with missing it. He then exchanged words with catcher Nick Hundley, resulting in a shoving match between the two. As expected with the two rival teams, the benches cleared but nothing major came of it.
Puig says that Hundley told him to stop complaining and that was what incited him. Hundley didn’t mention who said something first — make of that what you will. In the heat of the moment, they went back and forth saying things to each other. Eventually, it escalated to the point of angering Puig enough to shove Hundley first.
Hundley’s actions and recent games between the two teams have sent a message from the Giants. The Giants are saying “We’re not done yet.”
Frustrating times and slumps have plagued the Dodgers this season. A slow start and their current cold spell has resulted in their inability to run away with a postseason spot. Teams like the Giants, who are just hanging around, love to see that, it gives them hope and confidence. Yesterday, that frustration came out of Puig and sprung confidence into Hundley who felt comfortable saying something.
The Dodgers have lost five straight games and are now just three games above the Giants in the standings. The absence of Kenley Jansen is killing them. During this losing streak, their team ERA in the ninth inning is 21.60, the second worst in the league. They need to figure out a plan for their bullpen which has been the third worst in the league over this time period. If not, they are in danger of falling behind the Giants in the battle for the postseason.
The Giants just put together late runs to beat the Dodgers in consecutive games and are now trying to do the same thing with their season. Hundley stepped up and sent the message literally. Now is not the time to play around with the Giants they’re coming. The Giants have a lot of fight in them and last night was a literal example of it.