Coming off a thrilling win on Opening Day, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen squandered six strong innings from Zack Greinke as they allowed the San Diego Padres to score six runs over the final three innings, including four in the ninth.
Greinke walked away with a no-decision in his first start of the 2015 season as newcomer Chris Hatcher was charged with the loss. Despite watching the bullpen fail to protect a one-run lead, Greinke praised catcher Yasmani Grandal, another new face in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
“His catching is better than advertised, and working with me individually, he’s been as good as you could expect,” Greinke said. “I don’t think, from what I’ve seen so far, you could ever have expected anything more. He’s been unbelievable back there.”
Grandal twice caught Greinke during Cactus League play this year, and at one point Tuesday, was calling signals as the right-hander retired 12 consecutive batters. “He’s done everything. His hands are great, he’s blocked everything I’ve thrown,” said Greinke of Grandal.
“People stole on him last year, but he’s had some really good throws in games I’ve thrown in Spring Training. And then his game calling’s been good. I couldn’t draw up a better catcher at the moment.”
Grandal was the centerpiece of the Dodgers’ return in their trade of Matt Kemp to the Padres. The 26-year-old catcher was drafted 12th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in 2010, and debuted with San Diego in 2012.
There were some negative reviews of Grandal coming out of the Padres organization, specifically from Tyson Ross and others on the pitching staff, but there’s been nothing of the sort from anyone with ties to the Dodgers.