After eight strikeouts in 15 postseason plate appearances, Curtis Granderson lost his spot on the Dodgers’ World Series roster. The veteran outfielder and rookie catcher Kyle Farmer were removed to make room for shortstop Corey Seager and pitcher Brandon McCarthy.
Seager missed the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs because of a lower back sprain. The team decided to keep backup infielder Charlie Culberson, who batted .455 in Seager’s absence, on the roster, and trusted the left-handed-hitting outfielder combination of Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson over Granderson.
“The at-bats that Curtis has taken over the last month haven’t been what I know he would expect,” manager Dave Roberts said before Tuesday’s game. “And for us to win this series I think that it was the best for us.”
The Dodgers acquired Granderson from the New York Mets on Aug. 18. He cost them minor league reliever Jacob Rhame.
Granderson most often contributed strikeouts. He was punched out in 25% of his plate appearances. He batted .161. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, he went one for 15 and looked feeble during a four-strikeout game against the Cubs in Game 4 of the NLCS.
Roberts said he spoke with Granderson, 36, about the decision Monday night. “Curtis handled it like the pro that he is,” Roberts said.
McCarthy has not pitched in a game since Oct. 1, and appeared in only five games after the All-Star break. He was slowed by various ailments that included blisters, tendinitis in his knee and mechanical glitches in his delivery. McCarthy has pitched in three simulated games this postseason, Roberts said.
Justin Turner now has four postseason home runs this season alone. So that sixth-inning blast against Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel that gave the Dodgers their margin of victory in a 3-1 win in Game 1 was, in a certain way, nothing new.
But for Cal State Fullerton, which has produced its fair share of major league players, it held some historical significance. It was only the second World Series homer ever struck by a former Titan.
Both have involved the Astros, who are in only their second World Series.
Mike Lamb, who played at Fullerton from 1995-97, homered against the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 Series. And that’s not the only distinction Turner and Lamb share: both also played on NCAA championship teams with the Titans, Lamb in 1995 and Turner in 2004.
Turner also homered in the College World Series in 2003, when the Titans fell in a semifinal.
They provide relief
The Dodgers bullpen extended its scoreless innings streak to 25 innings as Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen each retired all three hitters they faced.
The scoreless streak dates back to the seventh inning of Game 2 in the division series against Arizona.
In 30 2/3 innings during the playoffs, Dodgers relievers have given up only three runs and have 33 strikeouts with two walks. Opposing hitters have a batting average of .118.
Full rest for Kershaw
In three starts over the opening playoff rounds, the Dodgers did not use Clayton Kershaw on three days of rest, breaking a pattern from the previous four postseasons.
Roberts insisted before the opener that Alex Wood would be the starter in Game 4, after Rich Hill and Yu Darvish in the middle two games.
“I just don’t see us deviating from it,” Roberts said. “We have four guys who we believe in, and a bullpen we trust. To have him go on short rest right now doesn’t seem to make sense.”
He’s a big baby
Yasmani Grandal said he slept for a total of five hours Saturday and Sunday nights, plus an hour on the plane to Los Angeles on Monday. He and his wife, Heather, had welcomed their second child Sunday in Phoenix, a son named Yasmani Ryker.
“Big boy,” Roberts said. “I think 22 pounds.”
When Roberts realized what he had said, he laughed. “Inches,” he corrected. “Not pounds.”
Grandal noted that he was born one month after the Dodgers won their last World Series and his first son was born on the eve of the Dodgers’ first World Series since then.
“I get to tell him that,” Grandal said. “It’s something special we get to share.”
Adrian Gonzalez still wasn’t in uniform for Tuesday’s opener, but he was in Los Angeles — back from a family vacation in Europe. Gonzalez was a guest on SportsNet LA’s postgame show. The Dodgers have said Gonzalez was not participating in the playoffs because of the recurrence of a back injury.
Times staff writers Bill Shaikin and Mike Hiserman contributed to this report.