Placido Polanco was voted into the All-Star game as a starter yesterday despite a modest .681 OPS that ranks 59th among NL hitters and the third baseman admitted to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he’s been playing through a back injury:
I hate to use excuses, but it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel right. My back is a little sore. I have a pinched nerve where I feel some numbness in my leg. It’s playable. It’s not painful to the point I can’t play.
Polanco got off to a great start, batting .398 in April, but he’s hit just .219 with an awful .541 OPS in 56 games since then, including 0-for-12 so far in July, dragging his season totals down to career-lows in batting average (.277), slugging percentage (.349), and OPS (.681).
It’s tough to say a player should be benched the day after he’s voted in as an All-Star game starter, but at some point it should become obvious that the Phillies will be better off giving Polanco at least the occasional day off in the second half. He’s not doing anyone any good by playing poorly through the injury every day.
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.