Last night Joe Girardi revealed his plans for the Yankees’ playoff rotation, announcing that CC Sabathia will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Tigers followed by rookie Ivan Nova in Game 2 and veteran Freddy Garcia in Game 3.
Not exactly how the Yankees’ brass saw their October pitching shaking out back in spring training.
Because of the scheduling Sabathia and Nova will likely both be able to make a second start in the opening round, meaning the Yankees can rely on a three-man rotation while demoting A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, and Phil Hughes to the bullpen.
Last season the Yankees had Sabathia atop the rotation, followed by Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes, and Burnett in the fourth starter role started just one of their nine playoff games.
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.