I love a good rivalry, but sadly almost any decent rivalry these days transitions from actual bad blood to respect to a downright love-fest so damn quickly. I guess that’s human and grounded and everything, but there is some weird feeling of loss when “death to my enemy” is replaced by “a worthy effin’ adversary.”
Such is the case with Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper. Hamels is no longer interested in teaching him what is and what is not old school and is on to venerating the young lad:
Players get to vote on the All-Star bench, and due to both performance and star-power, Harper is more than worthy of the vote. Still, I’m hoping part of this is about some secret agenda on the part of Hamels to attack Harper with a folding chair in the NL Clubhouse in Kansas City next month.
Why yes, I did watch a lot of pro wrestling as a kid. Why do you ask?
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.