While the Los Angeles Dodgers were not lacking for depth in their outfield, overall production left some to be desired. In effort to address it, the team acquired Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets after he cleared waivers.
Granderson had gotten off to a slow start in the season but swung the bat well since late May. That surge of success failed to carry over to his time with the Dodgers. He nonetheless was another strong presence in the clubhouse and arrived with a wealth of playoff experience.
There was optimism the veteran outfielder would again rise to the occasion under the bright lights of October. Granderson has still scuttled in his postseason starts.
“I think he’s getting pitched tough in the sense they’re spinning him a lot,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on a conference call.
“Early in the count, later in the count, going below the zone with the breaking ball. I think he’s starting to press a little bit and do something for the ballclub.”
The Dodgers experienced something similar last season with Josh Reddick. He was acquired from the Oakland Athletics, along with Rich Hill, prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. He went hitless in his first 15 at-bats with the Dodgers.
Reddick eventually scratched but failed to consistently produce and drew the ire of the fan base. Now with the Houston Astros, he’s motivated to seek retribution in the World Series.
How much of that may come with Granderson on the field is unclear. “With Curtis, we’ve just got to look into the matchups to see if it makes sense,” Roberts said. “We’re going to [start] whoever we feel gives us the best chance to win that particular night.”
The 36-year-old has primarily started against right-handed pitching, but those went to Andre Ethier in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. They both were in the lineup for Game 4, when Granderson went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He did not appear in Game 5.
He’s 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts in six playoff games (three starts). As for potential playing time in the World Series, the bulk of Granderson’s experience against Astros pitchers is against Francisco Liriano and Justin Verlander.
Granderson is a career 6-for-32 with one double, one home run and four RBI off Liriano, and 5-for-24 with two doubles, two home runs and two RBI against his former teammate.
Liriano and Verlander have each walked Granderson three times, and also gotten the better of him — the southpaw to the tune of 15 strikeouts, and the righty with 10 strikeouts.
With Corey Seager expected to return for the World Series, it’s plausible the Dodgers would not included Granderson on their roster. Though, that may require them to carry Joc Pederson, who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City when the veteran outfielder was acquired.