LOS ANGELES -- Dave Roberts wasted no time late Monday night. Yasmani Grandal is back on the bench for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series tonight, following another rough performance behind the plate in Game 3 at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers fans expressed their frustrations, booing Grandal after he could not block a wild pitch in the sixth inning that allowed the Brewers' second run in a 4-0 victory that gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. That run was set up by another defensive misplay when center fielder Cody Bellinger appeared to misread Travis Shaw's deep drive, allowing Shaw to motor all the way to third with a triple.
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Grandal allowed a passed ball in the eighth inning, too. He allowed two passed balls and committed two errors in a one-run loss in Game 1 at Miller Park.
"I think it's driving you guys more nuts than me," Grandal said. "I blocked eight balls in the dirt today. I mean, the one ball that kicks off the plate, we had a man on third, it still hits me in a good spot. It just happened to be one of those plays where as the ball is coming down, it's picking up speed and it hits the back of the plate, and picks up even more speed. I think any baseball person understands what it is to be able to block a ball like that. The way I see it is overall, I was pretty good. I don't really hear the noise outside. I value my opinion way over everybody else. That's what keeps me sane."
Dodgers teammate Enrique Hernandez took more offense to the boos than Grandal.
"It sucks," he said. "Obviously as a teammate, as a competitor, you know that he's doing everything he can. He's not trying to have a hard time behind home plate or anything. But it sucks that there's nothing going on in the stands since the first inning when [Ryan Braun] hit that double, the stadium kind of went quiet for the rest of the evening. It sucks that they got loud just to show off Yasmani. It's a shame. He's trying his best.
"You know, it's the playoffs, it's the big leagues, if they think that they can do it, go ahead. Put on your gear and go catch 99 [mph] with breaking balls that have a lot of movement. He's been one of the best catchers in the game for a while now. He's having a little bit of a rough patch, which we all as humans, as baseball players go through. It's just bad timing."
Shaw's triple came with two out and none on in the sixth to set up the wild pitch. Bellinger ran 94 feet in pursuit, but he slowed as he approached the warning track. He then suddenly sped up and slammed into the wall.
Bellinger's contact with the wall and the ball's ricochet helped Shaw to his first triple since April 11, 2017.
"Yeah, he hit it and I kind of lost it for a quick second, and then picked it right back up," Bellinger said. "I don't know. I just missed it."
It would have been an extremely tough ball for Bellinger to catch, but it seems likely that if he'd had a better read, he might have been able to hold Shaw to a double. And had Shaw been on second, he would not have scored on the ensuing at-bat.
Instead, two pitches later, Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler spiked a 1-0 curveball to Jesus Aguilar. Grandal could not block it. He said after Game 1 that he was flat-footed behind the plate. He said that was not the issue on Monday.
"The curveball was in front of me," he said. "I have no problems."