UPDATE: General manager Doug Melvin announced that Gamel has a torn ACL, which likely means season-ending surgery. Very tough break for a player who waited to get his shot.
Mat Gamel left yesterday’s game after injuring his right knee chasing a foul ball and now Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers first baseman is headed back to Milwaukee to be examined by team doctors.
Manager Ron Roenicke sounded pretty pessimistic about Gamel’s status when asked immediately after the game, saying he feared it was serious and might be “a slight tear.”
Gamel has gotten off to a slow start as Prince Fielder’s replacement, hitting just .246 with a .641 OPS in 21 games after biding his time at Triple-A for multiple seasons. Milwaukee doesn’t have an obvious in-house replacement beyond Travis Ishikawa, so calling up Brooks Conrad or third base prospect Taylor Green from Triple-A could be options.
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.