Dexter Fowler’s abdominal injury has the Rockies shaking up their outfield and batting order by moving Carlos Gonzalez from left field to center field and from No. 3 hitter to leadoff man.
Gonzalez had played exclusively left field this season, but he started 55 times in center field last year and has 1,300 career innings there.
And while it may seem odd for a guy coming off a 34-homer, 117-RBI season to hit leadoff Gonzalez actually batted atop the lineup 44 times last season and 27 times in 2009.
Of course, none of that means he’ll remain in center field or as the leadoff man for long. Gonzalez told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he’d prefer to hit in the middle of the lineup and manager Jim Tracy indicated that it’s a temporary move in part due to Gonzalez’s slow start.
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.