They’re still my team, but boy oh boy were the 2013 Braves a joyless and unfun bunch. On the heels of the “policeman of the unwritten rules” stuff last month comes this from the New York Post. Seems that the reason Chipper Jones ceremonial first pitch last week was thrown out to the Braves mascot rather than an active player is because no active player would do it.
Why? Because Chipper declined to be a blindless homer when asked to handicap the series:
Evidently, Braves players were not happy Jones had gone on the radio earlier in the day with the team’s flagship station, 680 The Fan, and predicted the Dodgers would win the NLDS in four games. So no player volunteered to catch the pitch.
Former manager Bobby Cox threw out the ceremonial Game 2 first pitch to Tim Hudson.
For a bunch that claims to adhere to the strictest professionalism in the game you look pretty unprofessional childishly shunning a franchise icon because, like just about everyone else on the planet, he recognized that the Dodgers were pretty good.
And I guess now Chipper will get no extra credit for being right either. Oh well.
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.