Armando Galarraga might be the most well known starting pitcher without an actual rotation spot this season, as the Tigers signing Brad Penny to a one-year, $3 million contract yesterday likely pushes Galarraga out of the starting five.
Galarraga is famous for his imperfect perfect game last year and will forever be linked to umpire Jim Joyce, but take away that June 2 start and he went just 3-9 with a 4.79 ERA in 135 innings.
For his career Galarraga is 23-26 with a 4.58 ERA in 475 innings and he turns 29 years old later this week, which puts him squarely in the back-of-the-rotation starter or long reliever category.
Jason Beck of MLB.com notes that Galarraga is out of minor-league options, which means he can’t be sent back to Triple-A without clearing waivers first, so barring an injury to someone in the Tigers’ rotation he’ll either be bullpen bound or trade bait. Detroit could also simply release him, but Galarraga is still relatively cheap in his first season of arbitration eligibility, so letting him go for nothing wouldn’t make much sense.
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.