Charlie Manuel overlooked a 150-point difference in OPS to pick Ryan Howard over Joey Votto for the All-Star team, so even after Votto was added to the NL squad via MLB.com’s “Final Vote” contest it’s no surprise that the Phillies’ manager went with Howard at designated hitter. Or that he’s batting cleanup.
Here are the full NL and AL lineups:
American League National League
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF 1. Hanley Ramirez, SS
2. Derek Jeter, SS 2. Martin Prado, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B 3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Josh Hamilton, CF 4. Ryan Howard, DH
5. Vladimir Guerrero, DH 5. David Wright, 3B
6. Evan Longoria, 3B 6. Ryan Braun, LF
7. Joe Mauer, C 7. Andre Ethier, CF
8. Robinson Cano, 2B 8. Corey Hart, RF
9. Carl Crawford, LF 9. Yadier Molina, C
Miguel Cabrera replaced Justin Morneau in the AL lineup, while Martin Prado and Corey Hart replaced Chase Utley and Jason Heyward in the NL lineup.
All-Star outfields are often oddly arranged because there’s no “center fielder” spot on the ballot, but Manuel choosing Andre Ethier to start in center field is especially odd considering he has zero experience there as a major leaguer and Corey Hart has played 51 career games there.
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.