If Clint Barmes never got another major league at bat, he’d still always be remembered for the injury he sustained in the summer of 2005 while carrying deer meat up the stairs of his apartment building. He talked about that in the Houston Chronicle yesterday. This part struck me:
Barmes was a .318 hitter in 86 major league games before the mishap. He has batted .244 in 579 games since.
“It’s one of those things where everybody is like, ‘What would have happened if I didn’t get hurt?’ ” Barmes said. “I’ve thought about that. I’m not going to lie.”
Before 2005 he had two cups of coffee in which he didn’t hit terribly well. Before that, in six minor league seasons, he didn’t hit significantly better than he has in his major league career.
I’m not suggesting that his collar bone injury had no effect on him — I broke my collar bone 17 years ago and I still feel some random effects from it — but is it not possible that his 86-game hot start in 2005 was a tad fluky? Only once in his career before that stretch had he hit above .300, and that was on his second go-around at AAA at age 25 in extremely hitter-friendly Colorado Springs.
The collar bone injury makes for a good story — and Barmes even credits the injury for him getting serious with the woman he went on to marry — but I don’t think it’s at all clear that, but for the injury, Barmes would be winning batting titles and making eight figure salaries.
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.