I’ve written a few posts already about how Albert Pujols has bounced back from his brutal start with the Angels to resume being a great hitter, but after his latest homer binge–which includes two bombs against the Rangers last night–he’s now leading the American League in OPS dating back to May 15:
ALBERT PUJOLS 1.060
Mike Trout 1.043
David Ortiz 1.028
Miguel Cabrera 1.023
Robinson Cano 1.010
Jose Bautista 1.004
OK, so this post could just as easily be about how ridiculously great Mike Trout is, but let’s stick with the Pujols theme. (Sorry, Angels fans. You’ll have to just be happy with having both of them on the same team.)
In addition to leading the league in OPS since May 15–a span of 68 games–Pujols also leads the league in homers, RBIs, and slugging percentage and ranks fourth in batting average and on-base percentage. Kind of makes all that early speculation about whether he was suddenly washed-up seem pretty silly now, huh?
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.