All the Yasiel Puig critics are already getting started on their "I told you so" columns. The phenom's poor defensive decisions in Friday night's third inning allowed the St. Louis Cardinals to build a 4-0 lead in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Mistake No. 1 occurred following this Carlos Beltran run-scoring single:
Matt Carpenter would've come home under any circumstances, but Puig is to blame for Beltran advancing to second base. He missed the appropriate cutoff man, and didn't do it with enough urgency. Beltran was already cruising into scoring position by the time the high-arcing throw even reached Adrian Gonzalez.
Mistake No. 2 was far more blatant:
This time, Puig had an opportunity to nail a runner at the plate. This bullet actually beat David Freese, but it was about four feet higher than the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted.
All 6'3" of A.J. Ellis—plus however many inches he gains from leaping—wasn't enough to make the catch, much less apply the tag.
ESPN's Mark Simon puts this disaster into historical perspective:
Puig ties record for errors by an OF in an LCS game, last by Albert Belle, 1995 Record in any postseason game-3 Willie Davis, 1966 LAD—Mark Simon (@msimonespn) October 19, 2013
In defense of the polarizing rookie, this rally is mostly a byproduct of good fortune on balls in play. Both of the aforementioned base hits were grounders. A few extra feet to either side of Mark Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw wouldn't have been removed from this game so prematurely.
Ely is a national MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a sportscaster for 90.5 WVUM in Miami. He’s hoping to deepen relationships with his fantastic online audience (that means you) via Twitter.