8/13/2014 1:00 A.M. ET
Crawford has regained form during road trip
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Entering the Dodgers' current road trip, Carl Crawford had struggled mightily since returning to the club from a left ankle injury on July 11. He was hitting .153 (9-for-59) with a .215 on-base percentage in 19 games.
But the recent time away from Dodger Stadium has seen Crawford go on a tear, batting .440 (11-for-25) with a .481 OBP in his past seven games. It's the best he's hit since compiling a .455 (20-for-44) clip from May 3-20.
"He's an aggressive hitter, he's attacking the strike zone and taking advantage of pitchers' mistakes," first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "He had a great game [Monday]. He had a good series in Milwaukee. When he gets going, he's a guy that can really be a force because he hits pitchers' pitches for hits and then he takes advantage of their mistakes and drives those balls and he does a lot of good things on the bases, so it's good to see him rolling."
Crawford's outburst has rewarded Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly for sticking with the veteran in the Dodgers' crowded outfield. Mattingly's reasoning lends itself to advanced statistics, which show that Crawford has generated a career-high 26.9 line-drive percentage this season entering Tuesday, according to FanGraphs.com.
He also set a career high last year with a line-drive percentage of 23, up from his previous best of 21.1 percent in 2003 with the Rays.
"Carl, before he got hurt, was probably swinging the bat better than anyone we had," Mattingly said. "So I felt like Carl's going to get back to that. If you really look at our numbers and get into it, pretty much he's probably as high a percentage of well-hit balls that are hit on the nose as anybody we got."
Puig works with Lopes day after pickoff
ATLANTA -- After Yasiel Puig was picked off by Braves starter Julio Teheran in Monday's game, he arrived at Turner Field early on Tuesday to work on his baserunning with Dodgers first-base coach Davey Lopes.
Lopes swiped 557 bags in his career, and his 83 percent success rate ranks third all time among those with at least 500 steals. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly did not see the workout but said it involved getting back to first base.
"It seems like he's been picked [off] a couple of times lately, but there's been numerous times where you feel like his footwork's off getting back," Mattingly said. "I'm assuming that's what Davey's working on. It's things you work on."
Mattingly believes Puig, who has swiped 18 bags in 33 career attempts, simply needs more days like Tuesday to unlock his base-stealing potential.
"I think there's been numerous guys that had speed over the years that don't really steal bases," Mattingly said. "It's just a matter of him putting some time on it. I think it's an offseason thing really. I think it's something, it's kind of like you hear [NBA player] Steve Nash, and he'd talk about, 'You add something to your game every year.' And I think that's part of what you do in the offseason. If you want to improve your game, that's when you make small corrections."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.