Paul Konerko is on a ridiculous tear right now, hitting .466 with six homers and a 1.303 OPS in his last 20 games dating back to May 4.
Even more amazing is that sitting out three days in the middle of that stretch after taking a Jeff Samardzija pitch to the face didn’t slow him down, as Konerko returned to the lineup with a nice shiner on his eye and has gone 14-for-24 (.583) with three homers since.
Yes, seriously: .583.
Overall this season Konerko is hitting .399 with 11 homers and a 1.157 OPS in 45 games, leading the league in batting average and on-base percentage while ranking second to only Josh Hamilton in slugging percentage and OPS. And he’s doing it at age 36.
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.