My friend Russ Smith, late of the Mugger column in the New York Press and currently the proprietor of Splice Today, is a big baseball fan. A fairly traditional one, however, as he doesn’t get too hung up on stats and sabermetrics and stuff. His teenage son, however and it has led to some communications problems between father and son.
Given that I’m a little older and a little more liberal arts-inclined than most Internet baseball writers, Russ asked me my thoughts on stats and stuff. So I gave them to him, blockquoted near the bottom. If you care about such things — and based on some pointed comments in recent weeks, some of you do — it’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to explaining how stats and I get along.
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.