The Plain Dealer has a story this morning about Indians’ closer Kerry Wood and the flashing red neon “trade bait” sign floating over his head. He makes $10.5 million this year on a team that doesn’t look to contend and which has no compunction about dumping salary. If he finishes 55 games, an $11 million option for next year vests. The odds of that coming to pass are akin to Damon’s Gold Glove contract incentive paying off.
In the meantime, he’s the Indians’ closer, and they’re going to try to get as much out of him as possible:
Acta says he’ll use Wood in more four-out save situations. He did it twice last year, saving one game and blowing another. “With Kerry’s experience as a starter, we feel he can handle that,” said Acta.
Said Wood, “We talked about that Monday. Manny said he’s not opposed to
a four or five-out save. Obviously, it won’t happen a lot, but I’m not
opposed to that.”
How sad is it that we’ve reached a point where a closer getting four or five outs is such an oddity that it’s worth mentioning.
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.