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The tale of Curtis Granderson & Josh Reddick, struggling Dodgers outfielders

League Championship Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs - Game Four Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — There are loads of ancillary subplots to the 2017 World Series, including the Dodgers and Astros each having a struggling outfielder heading into the matchup. Both a Josh Reddick and Curtis Granderson are further linked in that both have underwhelmed after a midseason trade to the Dodgers.

Reddick singled in the fourth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night in Houston, his only hit of the series. Reddick finished the ALCS just 1-for-25 (.040) with a walk and a catchers interference.

He is looking forward to facing his former team in the World Series because, well...

Reddick had a very good first season with the Astros, hitting .314/.363/.484 in the first year of a four-year, $52 million signed last winter. It was in stark contrast to his two months with the Dodgers in 2016. Acquired from the A’s on July 31 with Rich Hill, Reddick hit just .258/.307/.335 with Los Angeles, an outlier of his last four years:

2014 (A’s): .763 OPS, 116 OPS+, .334 wOBA, 118 wRC+
2015 (A’s): .781 OPS, 118 OPS+, .338 wOBA, 116 wRC+
2016 (A’s): .816 OPS, 124 OPS+, .348 wOBA, 121 wRC+
2016 (LA): .643 OPS, 74 OPS+, .284 wOBA, 77 wRC+
2017 (Hou): .847 OPS, 134 OPS+, .357 wOBA, 127 wRC+

One of these things is not like the others. Reddick’s time with the Dodgers can basically be split into two months — one bad, and one good. He hit .161/.223/.172 in August 2016, but rebounded to hit .382/.417/.544 in September. During the playoffs he platooned, starting against right-handers, and was 8-for-26 (.308) with one walk and no extra-base hits.

All in all, a generally productive player wasn’t productive during his time with the Dodgers. It happens.

Reddick’s time with the Dodgers seems to mirror that of Granderson, though the latter is six years older. The production of the two left-handed batters during the regular season with LA is eerily similar:

Dodgers outfield trade acquisitions

Josh Reddick 2016 167 6 2 11 .258/.307/.335 .643 74 .284 77
Curtis Granderson 2017 132 2 7 18 .161/.288/.366 .654 72 .289 78

Granderson has followed up his regular season with a 1-for-15 postseason, with eight strikeouts. After starting 32 of 36 games against right-handed pitchers since joining the Dodgers, Granderson did not start Game 3 of the NLCS against the Cubs. He did start Game 4, and struck out in all four at-bats, the seventh such postseason game in Dodgers franchise history.

“He’s getting pitched tough. They are spinning him a lot early in the count, and later in the count getting him below the zone with breaking balls. He’s pressing a little bit, trying to do something to help the ball club,” Dave Roberts said Saturday. “With Curtis we just have to look into the matchups and see if it makes sense. We’re going to run whoever we feel gives us the best chance to win that particular night.”

With shortstop Corey Seager likely to return in time for Game 1, someone has to be the odd man out on the active roster. Charlie Culberson is a candidate, though if Seager is still nursing a sore back and is limited to designated hitter duty in the middle games the Dodgers could probably use another shortstop. Kyle Farmer is another potential casualty if the Dodgers decide to carry just two catchers. Otherwise it’s basically down to dropping either Granderson or Joc Pederson.

Granderson is 6-for-31 with four walks and five extra-base hits in his career against Justin Verlander, hitting .194/.286/.516. That includes a home run as a Dodger off Verlander, in Detroit on Aug. 20.

The only other Astros starter Granderson has faced is Charlie Morton, against whom he is 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and a hit by pitch.

While the knee-jerk reaction might be to drop Granderson off the roster to make room for Seager, the club has shown a lot of faith in the veteran outfielder to this point. I believe he will remain on the Dodgers’ active roster until I see otherwise.