For the second time this season Mariners prospect and former No. 2 overall pick Danny Hultzen is sidelined by shoulder problems.
Back in April he was diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff after having difficulty warming up before a start and Wednesday night Hultzen was scratched from his scheduled Triple-A start when he couldn’t get loose again. For now the Mariners are calling it a shoulder “irritation” and a “minor setback.”
Hultzen pitched very well when healthy enough to take the mound this season, throwing 29 innings with a 2.20 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio, which put him in line for a potential call-up. But now he’ll be shut down for at least two weeks and then the 23-year-old left-hander will have to build back his arm strength from there.
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.