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Austin Barnes continues to mature for Dodgers

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League Championship Series - Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game One Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Austin Barnes walked twice and scored a run in Game 1 of the NLCS, and continues to play himself into a larger role for the Dodgers this postseason.

Barnes this October is 4-for-10 (.400) with a home run, a double and three walks in four games this postseason, including three starts behind the plate. He has also stolen a base.

He has scored at least one run in all four games, tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.

“He's really matured as a major league player this year. Behind the plate, just the confidence that he's had, and he's grown to have behind the plate,” manager Dave Roberts said. “In the batter's box, he competes every pitch, hits to all fields.”

Dodgers postseason runs scored streaks

Player Year Games
Player Year Games
Ron Fairly 1965 7
Jackie Robinson 1955 5
Pee Wee Reese 1956 5
Steve Sax 1988 5
Austin Barnes* 2017 4
*Barnes is tied with 11 others Source: Baseball-Reference

This is Barnes’ third year with the Dodgers, though his first two years involved intermittent stints in the majors, shuttling back and forth between Los Angeles and Triple-A Oklahoma City. After totaling just 74 plate appearances in 2015-16, Barned played in 102 games this season, hitting .289/.408/.486 with nearly as many walks (39) as strikeouts (43) in 262 PA.

Barnes started 49 games at catcher this season, and four more at second base. He has caught Rich Hill in half of his 26 starts in 2017, including the postseason, including seven of the last 10 games. Hill with Barnes behind the plate this season has a 2.52 ERA.

“We're really fortunate to have two great catchers with Yasmani Grandal and Austin. It's been incredible to work with both guys and to see, you know, the development of Austin this entire season,” Hill said. “He’s a guy who works every day, who wants to learn, who talks to pitchers and understands the strengths of each pitcher and where they want to go in the situations when it means the most.”