Not so long ago Max Ramirez was headed to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell, but Lowell’s injuries squashed that trade and Ramirez’s stock has been in a free fall ever since.
This winter the Red Sox claimed him off waivers from the Rangers only to lose him on waivers to the Cubs a couple weeks later, and the Cubs outright released Ramirez last week. Today the Astros signed him to a minor-league deal.
That’s quite a fall for a catcher who hit .347 with power between Double-A and Triple-A in 2008 and is still just 26 years old, but Ramirez was never considered an asset defensively behind the plate and he’s missed time with injuries while failing to produce offensively since then. Still, not a bad low-cost, no-risk pickup for the Astros.
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.