A couple of AL West transactiony things that, upon reading them, made me say “well, duh”:
- The Angels are not likely to bring Hideki Matsui back next year. Godzilla has hit pretty darn well over the past month. But it’s still been a down season for him overall, he’s a free agent after the season is over, he’s 36, he can’t play defense anymore and the Angels have given off approximately 136 signals this year that they intend to use Bobby Abreu as their DH next season. But other than that . . .
- The Rangers are going to bring back Ron Washington as their manager next year. Texas may be struggling right now, but this has been a fine season for them and there have been umpteen stories about how great the atmosphere is in the Rangers’ clubhouse, thanks in large part to Washington. With all of the distractions surrounding the sale of the club — distractions which filtered down through the front office and caused at least some job security anxiety among Rangers’ employees — it would have been easy for gloominess to seep into the clubhouse too. It didn’t, and Washington deserves a lot of the credit for that.
Next reports I expect to see: the Mariners may make a change or two this winter and Jerry Manuel could be on the hot seat in New York.
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.