Indians place reliever Jensen Lewis on waivers

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Jensen Lewis has consistently been one of Cleveland’s best relievers since debuting in mid-2007, posting a 3.68 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 198 innings, but he’s been knocked around in a half-dozen appearances this spring and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians have placed him on waivers.

Lewis is under contract for $650,000, which any team that claims him would also assume, but as far as veteran relievers available in late March go he should be a fairly attractive target.

On the other hand, for a non-contender like the Indians to willingly cut bait on a cheap 27-year-old reliever with a strong track record suggests he did something to fall out of favor in a hurry. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it wasn’t based entirely on his pitching poorly for five innings in exhibition games.

Either way it’ll be interesting to see if Lewis is claimed off waivers like Pat Neshek was by the Padres yesterday after the Twins surprisingly cut him loose.

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.