A rather severe penalty for an incident that was actually incited by the ump.
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games and fined for bumping home plate umpire Tony Randazzo after being ejected from Saturday’s game against the Athletics.
Papelbon is appealing the penalty and will be available to pitch tonight.
Papelbon has maintained that he was talking to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and not Randazzo during the exchange that led to Saturday’s incident. After Papelbon turned around, Randazzo stepped out from behind home plate and took a couple of steps towards the mound, shouting back to Papelbon.
As soon as Randazzo made that move, it was a given that Papelbon would be ejected. There was no other way it could have played out. Papelbon, of course, took the invitation and went chest-to-chest with Randazzo. He didn’t appear to intentionally bump Randazzo at any time, but there was definitely some contact.
Given the circumstances, Papelbon would seem to have a pretty good chance of getting the penalty reduced. Randazzo was just as much of a hot-head as he was, and there was no obvious intent to bump (or grind) on Papelbon’s part.
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.