The calendar shifted to August, but Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal kept hitting like July, hitting another home run in Tuesday’s loss to the Rockies. He’ll look for more of the same in the middle game of the series on Wednesday night at Coors Field.
It’s no given that Grandal will start on Wednesday, with left-hander Tyler Anderson starting for the Rockies. Grandal has started just eight times in the 25 games the Dodgers faced an opposing southpaw this season, though he has started against four of the last six left-handers they have faced.
The home run the switch-hitting Grandal hit on Tuesday was hit right-handed.
It was his 16th home run of the season, matching his career high, set last season. This year’s total has come in 288 plate appearances, compared to 426 total PA in 2016.
As Grandal told reporters after the game on Tuesday night, as well as after hitting a home run on Sunday in Los Angeles, he is fully healthy and able to put good swings on the ball, with no remnants from his offseason shoulder surgery.
The shoulder injury sapped Grandal of his power in the final two months of last season.
One year ago today, he was hitting .292/.400/.514 with 15 home runs in 301 plate appearances, before starting a Pennsylvania road trip that would see him get hurt.
He ended last year just 9-for-102 (.088) with one home run in his final 33 games.
This year, he homered on the final day of June, then hit eight more home runs in July, hitting .324/.439/.691, second in the majors in OPS and wOBA (.467) only to Joey Votto for the month.
The home run on Tuesday gave Grandal 10 home runs in his last 23 games, the most in baseball since June 30.
No Dodgers catcher has hit 20 home runs since Paul Lo Duca in 2001, when he hit 25 (20 as a catcher).
Grandal, who hit all 16 of his home runs in 2015 as a catcher and who has hit all 16 of his homers this season as a catcher too, is the first Dodgers catcher with back-to-back seasons of at least 15 home runs since Todd Hundley, who hit 24 in both 1999 and 2000.
With 16 home runs as a catcher this season, Grandal is tied with Wilson Ramos of the Nationals for most in baseball, one more than Salvador Perez of the Royals. Grandal is also fourth in the majors in wRC+ among catchers with at least 200 plate appearances.
But it’s not just the home runs. Grandal has reached base by hit or walk in each of his last 15 starts, dating back to July 6. He’s 20-for-60, hitting .333/.452/.700 during that span.
The eight walks issued by Dodgers pitchers on Tuesday was one shy of a season high, set on April 24, also at Coors Field. LA also walked eight in two other games this season — May 20 in San Diego and June 28 in Milwaukee.
Brock Stewart walked two in his major league debut on June 29 in Milwaukee, though one was intentional. He hasn’t issued more than one unintentional walk in a start since May 11 for Double-A Tulsa against Arkansas. Since then, in 12 starts between Tulsa, Triple-A Oklahoma City and Los Angeles, Stewart has eight unintentional walks and 84 strikeouts in 74 innings, to go with a 2.68 ERA.
Tyler Anderson and his 56.1-percent ground ball rate — 10th-highest among the 185 pitchers with at least 50 innings this season — starts for the Rockies. The rookie has a 3.47 ERA in six home starts, with 35 strikeouts and eight walks in 36⅓ innings.
The Dodgers have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.
Time: 5:40 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA