Is it time for Cano to be clutch?

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Robinson Cano.jpgJohn Harper of the Daily News thinks that Robinson Cano needs to step things up:

More than Curtis Granderson, more than Nick Johnson, the onus falls on Cano to fill the clutch gap. Indeed, it’s time for Cano to prove he’s more than a great talent, a status he reaffirmed in 2009 with a big rebound season.

In 2010 the Yankees need for him to prove he can be a great hitter as well, one who understands situations and delivers when it counts most.

Harper goes on to note that Cano should have won a Gold Glove but that “part of winning those types of awards is earning respect around the
league as a true star, and a big part of that is earning a reputation
for being clutch.”

“There was a streak when [Cano] had made about 10 or 11 outs in a row with
runners in scoring position, and he hit nine bullets. Over the long term that usually irons itself out, but when you don’t
have 600,000 at-bats, it doesn’t iron out. His at-bats, a lot of times
were very good with runners in scoring position. I didn’t think he had
a lot of luck last year”

Practicing better patience and realizing better luck sounds like an easier trick to pull off than taking peyote, entering a Ute Indian sweat lodge and trying to commune with the Clutch Gods or whatever process Harper thinks it is that turns mere ballplayers into clutch hitters.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.