Pablo Sandoval’s conditioning has been an issue at times over the past several years, so it’s no surprise to hear that it is a topic of conversation in Giants’ camp again this spring.
According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, Sandoval is listed at 262 pounds on the Giants’ spring roster, which is 22 pounds more than his listed weight for last season. Giants manager Bruce Bochy conceded that “it’s fair to say he has to shed a few,” but he also expressed optimism that he’ll be able to do so. Meanwhile, Sandoval didn’t understand what the fuss was all about.
“I feel in shape,” Sandoval told Haft. “Who cares what other people say? I’m here to do my job.”
Sandoval had 12 homers and a .789 OPS over 108 games last season, but poor conditioning wasn’t the problem as much as a broken hamate bone. Of course, he eventually found his power stroke by socking six homers in 16 postseason games en route to being named the World Series MVP. The best way for “Kung Fu Panda” to silence his critics is to hit.
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.