LOS ANGELES -- Manager Dave Roberts believes right-fielder Yasiel Puig makes the Dodgers a better baseball club.
Going forward, Roberts also hopes Puig can help the Dodgers solve in their inability to hit left-handed pitching.
Puig went 2-for-4 in his return to the Dodgers on Friday in a 4-2 setback to the San Diego Padres. Although Los Angeles has had trouble recording hits against southpaws, it registered nine against Padres starter Clayton Richard. However, Richard allowed just a run in five innings and the Padres bullpen kept the Dodgers hitters -- a Joc Pederson solo home run being the only blemish -- quiet the rest of the way.
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The Dodgers are hitting a major league-worst .218 against left-handed pitching. They were almost no-hit by San Francisco Giants lefty Matt Moore last week before Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager blooped a single with two outs in the ninth to avoid it.
Puig might be the answer.
"That's certainly a component," said Roberts, who hasn't decided if Puig, who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City, is his everyday right-fielder again or whether he will platoon with recently-acquired Josh Reddick from the Oakland Athletics. "It's about winning baseball games and the numbers don't lie. We haven't hit left-handed pitching, so with Yasiel's track record throughout his career, he's shown he can hit left-handed pitching and also play plus-defense. I think we're a better team for it."
Rich Hill (1-0, 2.09 ERA) is expected to feel better and make his anticipated return for the Dodgers in Saturday's game against the Padres. Hill has made just one start -- an impressive one though -- in the past month since the Dodgers obtained him from the Oakland Athletics.
Hill's second scheduled start as a Dodger was scratched after a rain delay Tuesday left him with some tenderness on a blister on his pitching finger that delayed his debut in Los Angles. However, he threw six scoreless innings on five hits in a victory over the Giants on Aug. 24.
"Every player feels they can get through it. But I don't think a blister can be willed to stay healthy, no matter how much will he has," Roberts said, according to the Los Angeles Times, regarding the team's decision to push back Hill's start."
The Dodgers will try their luck against Padres right-hander Luis Perdomo (7-7, 5.84 ERA). In his last outing, Perdomo threw a complete game, allowing a run on six hits in a victory over the Miami Marlins.
Perdomo forced the Marlins to ground into six double plays, which is a club record for the Padres, during the win. He owns a 60 percent ground-ball rate, which is the best in the National League among pitcher with at least 100 innings.
"It was a solid game all around," Padres manager Andy Green told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I couldn't ask for more. His stuff plays. Everybody knows it plays. You've got some of the best hitters in the game beating it into the ground. You couldn't ask for him to take a bigger step forward at this point in time."