With five Los Angeles Dodgers at the All-Star game on Tuesday, fans of Major League Baseball understood that Los Angeles was well represented. From Cy Young pitchers to first-time appearances, the whole spectrum was present.
Perhaps the least likely perceived Dodger to make the All-Star team was Yasmani Grandal. The coveted offseason acquisition has made his presence felt in an area where the Dodgers had been lacking production. To put it into perspective, Grandal has as many home runs as anyone else currently on the San Diego Padres and would be third on the team in RBIs. The main player he was traded for, Matt Kemp, only has eight home runs and is batting 30 percentage points less than Grandal.
The 26-year-old made his debut in the All-Star game during the bottom of the eighth inning. With Justin Upton on second base, Grandal was robbed of a base hit by shortstop Jose Iglesias. The Cuba native would stay in the game into the ninth inning to catch a former teammate.
Cincinnati Red Aroldis Chapman was slated to pitch the ninth inning to leave Reds fans with a memorable impression of their All-Star closer. Grandal was a former Reds’ teammate of Chapman and made history with their appearances in the ninth. The pair became the first Cuban battery to appear in an All-Star Game. When Grandal was asked about the history they made, he remained humble and thankful, via Corey Brock of MLB.com:
I hadn’t thought of [making history], but it couldn’t have worked out any better,” Grandal stated. “I was hoping I would catch him, because I caught him in Cincinnati for a little bit, and I wanted to see what the difference was.”
Chapman put on a display as he struck out the side with only a couple pitches touching less than 100 MPH. Grandal was then asked what he thought of Chapman since the last time he caught him and Grandal delivered an honest response:
It was much easier to catch him today than it was a couple of years back.”
The first-time All-Star has exceeded expectations during his brief tenure as a Dodger and can improve his stock with a tremendous start to the second half of the season. Thus far, the three-year veteran is batting .282 with 14 home runs, 36 RBIs, and a .401 OBP.