Yasmani Grandal breaks out of slump with NLCS Game 3 home run

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Arrieta threw a curveball in the dirt, a chin-high fastball, and another that just missed the inside corner of the plate. Now the count was full. Grandal swung with some authority at Arrieta’s eighth pitch, a fastball at the knees over the plate, and the ball came to rest over the fence in right-center field 398 feet from home plate. The two-run home run allowed the announced crowd of 54,269 to enjoy a lead that approached comfortability.“I challenged him with a fastball in a really good spot, down in the zone with some velocity,” Arrieta said. “He put a good swing on it. That’s why those guys get paid too.”Grandal hit 27 home runs during the regular season but none since Sept. 22, a drought of 61 plate appearances. It was his first hit of any kind against Arrieta, the fearsome 2015 Cy Young award winner who threw a no-hitter the last time he pitched at Dodger Stadium.Ask Grandal, however, and he will tell you that hitting home runs is not what he’s paid to do at all.Despite a .103 batting average in the postseason prior to Tuesday, Grandal wasn’t losing sleep. Clayton Kershaw (after Game 2) and Rich Hill (after Game 3) both praised the catcher for his game-calling, while baseball’s pitch-tracking technology highlighted his ability to frame a borderline strike. LOS ANGELES >> Before Tuesday, Yasmani Grandal’s most noticeable contribution to the playoffs was accusing the Chicago Cubs of stealing signs.He changed that with one swing of the bat in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.The Dodgers were leading 1-0 in the fourth inning when Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta was one pitch away from retiring the side. Josh Reddick was on third base. Grandal, a switch-hitter batting left-handed, was seeking his first hit of the series but down in the count after two quick strikes.• PHOTOS: Dodgers take 2-1 series leadcenter_img Now, the Dodgers are riding back-to-back postseason shutouts for the first time in franchise history.“I’ve said it before: if I go 0 for 4 and I shut down a team, I’m sleeping tight that night,” Grandal said. “So no matter what would have happened tonight, if we came out with the same outcome and I wouldn’t have gotten a hit, I would still be happy just because we’re executing the plan, and that plan is built by a lot of guys here who put a lot of effort into a game plan.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Grandal “might have been a victim of trying a little bit too hard” at the plate. If so, maybe falling behind 0 and 2 against a pitcher he had literally never hit before was the perfect place for Grandal to break out of his slump. Trying too hard didn’t work. With two strikes against him, Grandal said he was merely trying to “stay alive” in the at-bat.“A lot of times when hitters shorten up and see the ball, you still maintain your bat speed,” Roberts said. “He’s a strong young man and he put a good swing on it.”last_img

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