Needing to make roster room for tonight’s starting pitcher, Liam Hendriks, the Royals have demoted reliever Aaron Crow to Double-A.
At first glance it looks like another case of a team demoting a player to the minors simply because they had a minor-league option remaining. Crow was an All-Star in 2011 and has a 3.35 ERA in 226 career innings through age 26, including a 3.86 ERA in 59 appearances this season.
However, his secondary numbers have slipped dramatically with a 29/20 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and since beginning the season by making 19 consecutive appearances with zero earned runs allowed he has a 5.77 ERA in 40 games.
Dan Otero of the A’s probably has a better case for being demoted solely due to having a minor-league option remaining and either way Crow will almost surely be back in September.
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.