A sickness has been sweeping the Dodgers clubhouse, causing as many as 25 players to be sent home from Camelback Ranch the last few days. Thursday’s scheduled starting pitcher Ross Stripling was scratched due to the as-of-now mysterious illness. Manny Banuelos instead gets the start, a pitcher this writer has never heard of.
From the moment that Austin Barnes overtook the primary catcher’s spot from Yasmani Grandal late last summer, speculation immediately began to swirl about how the club would handle Grandal moving forward, and many believed that a trade sometime during the winter months was imminent. However, with about a full month left before pitchers and catchers begin filing into the Camelback clubhouse, the rumors have quieted significantly, as it appears the Dodgers will stick with the duo, at least for the beginning of the regular season.
The Yasmani Grandal trade rumors began as far back as the beginning of the 2017 playoffs, when the management crew of the Dodgers started to make clear that Austin Barnes was the preferred catcher of choice for the postseason, and perhaps the chief catcher moving forward. Now that Grandal is ready to embark on his walk-year, everyone around baseball is anticipating that Los Angeles will deal the 29-year-old switch-hitter before the deadlines this summer.
While there aren’t an overwhelming number of trade rumors surrounding the Dodgers as this winter’s hot stove approaches, there has been a bit of conjecture regarding catcher Yasmani Grandal and whether or not he’ll last the entire season in Los Angeles.
It’s very early in the postseason, but the Dodgers seem to have it together. All that worry about whether they would be able to get hot at the right time, if they feared the Diamondbacks, was all for naught. The bats look good, the pitching looks decent, and the Dodgers take a commanding 2-0 lead into Arizona.
The Dodgers have finally clinched the division, and are one win away from reaching 100 wins this season. Their PECOTA projections was 98 wins, so in that respect they have exceeded expectations. What was not expected, however, is the makeup of the roster heading into the playoffs.
It’s been a rather depressing end of summer for Dodgers fans, as the Boys in Blue couldn’t quite get much going through the end of August and the month of September. But today the Northern Hemisphere turns to autumn, and the Dodgers will be celebrating Clinchmas, and hopefully those losing days will fall behind them.
On the offensive side of things, there’s probably not a streakier hitter on the Dodgers‘ entire roster than catcher Yasmani Grandal. When he’s hot, he’s often capable of carrying the team’s production on his own shoulders, but when he’s cold, he sometimes shuts down completely. During these quiet stretches, the club’s output with the lumber frequently feels the effects of such nosedives, especially when he’s entrenched smack dab in the middle of the Los Angeles batting order.
Being that the San Francisco Giants have resided in the cellar of the National League West for almost the entirety of the season, coupled with the fact that they are only a few games away from the Philadelphia Phillies for having the worst record in all of baseball, one would have presumed that a three-game series at AT&T Park was just what the doctor ordered to ease the Los Angeles Dodgers out of perhaps one of their worst team slumps in decades.
While there’s been very heavy speculation lately about the effectiveness of the Dodgers‘ most common batting orders, there’s little guarantee that moving around several regular pieces will make a huge difference in the overall potency of the offense. The same can be said about moving up right fielder Yasiel Puig in the lineup—he’s definitely thrived in the lower part of the order, but when given the chance to hit in the middle, hasn’t made much of a notable difference at all.