Joe Tacopina’s cross-examination of Randy Levine sounded less-than-effective

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It’s not a transcript, but Christian Red and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News have a summary of the cross-examination of Yankees President Randy Levine by Alex Rodriguez’s attorneys at the arbitration yesterday.  It sounds less than devastating.

Basically, Levine answers “no” to every possible question that looks calculated to elicit something negative. And, unless the Daily News is simply ignoring a searing impeachment of Levine later in the proceedings, there does not appear to be any followup by A-Rod’s lawyers on the denials of Levine.

Which is a pretty dumb way to approach a cross examination of a witness. The point is to score points and/or rebut the prosecution’s case against your client. To ask questions you already know the answers to so that you can demonstrate the witnesses’ lack of credibility or lack of knowledge or the weaknesses in the case against your guy. If you don’t have that kind of ammo, you don’t call the witness.

Here, it seems anyway, Tacopina just gave Randy Levine a platform to say “no, we don’t have anything against A-Rod and don’t stand to gain anything if he gets suspended.” In other words, he gave Levine a chance to undercut the very foundation of the case A-Rod’s representatives are allegedly making (i.e. that the fix is in to get A-Rod).

Maybe there’s another shoe to drop. Maybe this was a massive perjury trap for Levine and later some other witness will come on to undercut him. Maybe, however, there is nothing to those claims A-Rod’s legal team is making and they are stalling for time. Or playing to the cameras. Or … something.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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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.