At the beginning of the year (and for much of last year) the Mets hemmed and hawed over first base. They seemed to want Ike Davis to fulfill the promise he showed a couple of seasons ago, but Lucas Duda had flashed some nice power potential here and there over the past couple of years too, so at least they had options. Eventually they decided it just wasn’t happening for Davis so they bit the bullet and shipped him to Pittsburgh, going all-in with Duda.
Duda went 3 for 5 with two home runs and five RBI against the Dodgers yesterday, continuing his breakout season. He’s 8 for his last 23 with five home runs, 11 RBI and seven runs scored. For the year he has 26 homes and a nifty line of .260/.355/.507. He’s among the league leaders in most power categories.
Duda is a year older than Davis, so it’s not as if they just stumbled on a future Hall of Famer here, but he’s definitely the sort of power bat that could very well fit with a contending team, and that’s something the Mets haven’t had for a good while.
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.