According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Mike Napoli is back in the starting lineup this afternoon against the Dodgers after resting for the past six games due to plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Napoli aggravated the injury while legging out a double last Friday against the Yankees and has only appeared as a defensive replacement with the Red Sox playing under National League rules this week. Plantar fasciitis is known to be a nagging injury, so Red Sox manager John Farrell said they’ll continue to monitor his condition moving forward.
“One thing Mike has been good about is just expressing when days have been a little more symptomatic than others,” Farrell said. “All the tests and all the therapy that he’s gotten, we don’t feel it’s to the point where it’s going to take him out of the lineup long-term. Just got to continue to monitor it, manage it day-to-day, and he’s doing a good job of it.”
Napoli is hitting just .189 with four homers and 36 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances since the All-Star break. The Red Sox will have to hope that the extended rest will get him back on track offensively.
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.