You can tell just how hard it was for the media to go with that “A-Rod: clutch God” line of thinking they’ve been forced to adopt this year, because after just two bad games, they’re back into their old groove. First it was Joe Buck last night who, according to one reader, was “single handedly on a mission to resurrect the A-Rod is a choker in the post season movement.” This morning it’s the Daily News who says Rodriguez “suddenly looks as terrible at the plate as he did in far too many previous Octobers.”
Here’s an idea: give the dude the benefit of the doubt and allow for the fact that this is a World Series that, so far, has been marked by dominant starting pitching, even by the losing pitchers. If A-Rod strikes out with the bases loaded in the last at bat of the deciding game, fine, go crazy. In the meantime, hasn’t he earned a little bit of breathing room on this subject?
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.