Nate McLouth has been absolutely terrible since coming off the disabled list, going 1 for 15 with no extra base hits. On the year he’s hitting .178/.279/.265. If there’s a worse regular for a playoff contender I haven’t seen him. Today the Braves said “enough” and optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves don’t have a lot of outfield options. Gregor Blanco will likely get some time in center when he’s called up (which can’t be for another four days because he was optioned). Brent Clevlen was activated today but, c’mon, it’s Brent Clevlen. There is some talk that Jason Heyward could play center, but it seems like a big risk to take with such an important part of the team. Atlanta has to make a move to shore up the outfield.
Probably worth noting at this point that lots of Pirates fans and many Pirates players got all angry last summer when McLouth was traded. I understand the general frustration with that team constantly turning over its roster, but in this specific instance, no great loss.
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.