Houston manager Brad Mills has decided to go with a six-man rotation through the All-Star break. The reason? Bud Norris is coming back and the Astros are so happy with the guy who has been replacing him — Dallas Keuchel — that they don’t want to send him back down.
Eh, their call, but it’s not like Keuchel seems worth the fuss. He’s pitched superficially well in his brief stint, posting a 1.29 ERA in a couple of starts, but it’s a little misleading. He has 14 innings and in that time has only struck out five dudes while walking five. His k-rate has been fairly unremarkable in the minors too, and he’s mostly seen success when repeating a level, which is the sign of a guy who isn’t a stud prospect.
But hey, why not? The Astros aren’t going anywhere. If they want to take a closer look at Keuchel for a couple of weeks while giving some of the other starters a break, no biggie.
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.