Yesterday many heads were scratched when Davey Johnson pulled the allegedly innings-limit-free Stephen Strasburg after seven innings and a mere 80 pitches. Today Jason Reid of the Washington Post has a column up in which he vigorously defends the decision.
Thing is: the defense looks a lot more vigorous than necessary given that, at best, some folks asked Davey Johnson about why Strasburg was pulled. Which is a totally fair post-game question, especially given all the talk which has surrounded Strasburg and his workload. Reid, however, seems to think the very question is invalid, criticizing people in the game who last year second-guessed the Nats’ decisions, and going to P.R. Director lengths to defend Johnson and Mike Rizzo without even nothing that the “maybe Strasburg coulda gone another inning?” side of things is not an irrational query from some insane cabal.
Reid is entitled to his opinion obviously, but it’s striking how in-step most of the Washington Post’s opinions are with those of Nats’ management. To the point where even questioning that authority is looked down upon.
(hat tip to Kevin Reiss for pointing out Reid’s column)
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.