Things are tough for the Los Angeles Dodgers after losing 4-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. And most people think it would be toughest for Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, who’s had two pretty terrible games behind and at the plate.
Grandal has been the center of attention in Games 1 and 3, and not in the way you want. Over those two games, he’s committed two errors and allowed three passed balls. His defensive issues have been directly responsible for the Brewers scoring runs in both of their wins so far. In Game 3 for example, the Dodgers were down just 1-0 in the sixth inning until a pitch squirted past him. A run scored and the Brewers doubled their lead.
Offensively, Grandal hasn’t been any better. He’s hitting just .136 in the 2018 postseason. He struck out twice in Game 1, and three times in Game 3. He struck out twice in Game 3 with a man on third base — a fly ball could have scored a run, but Grandal couldn’t even put the ball in play.
But Grandal doesn’t seem to be worried about anything. When he was asked about his defense after the game, this is what he said.
Yasmani Grandal on the passed balls/wild pitches: "I think it’s driving you guys more nuts than it’s driving me."
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) October 16, 2018
If Grandal wanted to whip fans into an angry frenzy and spur tons of anti-Grandal calls to local sports talk radio stations, that’s certainly a way to do it. But Grandal wasn’t done. He did admit that he’s been pressing at the plate and swinging at bad pitches, but told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that he blocked eight pitches in the dirt in Game 3, and he’s feeling fine about his performance in general.
“What I see is overall pretty good,” Grandal said. “I don’t really hear the voice outside.
“I value my opinion way over everybody else. That’s what keeps me sane.”
Grandal may be able to stay sane, but his defensive miscues and feeble plate appearances drove the fans crazy. Grandal was booed by the crowd at Dodger Stadium, and a “We want Austin” chant broke out at one point. The crowd wanted to see 2017’s starting catcher Austin Barnes behind the plate instead of Grandal.
The fans are getting their wish, because manager Dave Roberts said after the game that Barnes would be starting Game 4 on Tuesday. And he acknowledged that Dodgers fans were frustrated on Monday night. From the Los Angeles Times:
“He had a tough night, and obviously the fans voiced their opinion,” Roberts said. “And they’re passionate. They want to win. They want the best out of all of us, especially in the postseason.
“So I know it’s not personal. I think it’s just one of those things where they were just as frustrated as we were.”
Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez didn’t share his manager’s feelings about the fans who booed Grandal.
Kiké Hernandez, on Dodgers fans booing Grandal and calling for Barnes: "It sucks that there's nothing going on in the stands since the first inning when Braun hit that double. It's quiet for the rest of the evening, and it sucks that they got loud just to show up Yasmani."
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) October 16, 2018
Hernandez was brutally honest about Dodgers fans in general after the game, so Tuesday’s Game 4 at Dodger Stadium should be interesting to say the least. And with Barnes starting, at least the fans won’t be able to boo Grandal. But unless the Dodgers can find their spark again, they may have other things to boo about.
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