LOS ANGELES -- Though he was eased back in after getting activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, catcher Yasmani Grandal provided a nice glimpse of what he brings to the Dodgers in their final two weekend games against the Giants.
Grandal on Saturday had a pair of doubles, and hit the ball the hardest against Johnny Cueto, who was cruising into the eighth inning. On Sunday, Grandal was in the mix on both Dodgers scoring rallies, hitting the ball hard again with two singles and a walk.
He walked before Joc Pederson 's home run in the fifth inning, then singled behind second base, only a great diving stab by the shifted Brandon Crawford preventing the ball from getting to the outfielders. That single drove home Puig, whose mad dash from second base was not to be stopped on this night.
"It was a heads up play, an aggressive play, and how we should keep on playing," Grandal said of Puig, noting Puig's hustle allowed Grandal himself to move into scoring position.
Grandal has reached base in each of his last six plate appearances and serving as a reminder what the Dodgers have in Grandal when fully healthy.
Before injuring his shoulder in August in Philadelphia, Grandal was hitting .295/.400/.513 with 15 home runs, at or near the top of the league in most offensive categories among catchers. But after the injury, Grandal went 6-for-94 (.064) with one home run over the final two months of the season, and had to have shoulder surgery to repair the A/C joint in his left shoulder in October.
But Grandal doesn't just provide offense. He is also one of the best framers in the league behind the plate, which manifested itself when Kenta Maeda was getting a little perturbed in the first inning on Sunday, when he walked two.
"I think I was trying to make balls look really good back there, so he thought the umpire was squeezing him but he wasn't," Grandal said. "[Maeda] was just a little bit outside the zone."
Between innings, Grandal showed video to Maeda, which showed the pitches were in fact balls, but the way Grandal was catching them made even Maeda think they were strikes.
"I said, as the game goes on, we're going to start to get pitches like this," Grandal said. "Don't try to make a perfect pitch."
Maeda ended up walking just one the rest of the way, while striking out a career-high seven.
The Dodgers fly to Atlanta on Monday, then start a three-game series against the Braves, the start of a six-game road trip that also stops in Denver. In the opener on Tuesday night at Turner Field, Alex Wood starts at his old stomping grounds, facing Julio Teheran.