As Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tells us, the Orioles made a bit of a surprise move today by sending rookie left-hander Zach Britton to Double-A Bowie to make room for left-hander Mark Hendrickson on the active roster.
The move comes on the heels of Britton giving up a career-high seven runs over just two-thirds of an inning in last night’s blowout loss to the Red Sox.
Britton, 23, is 6-7 with a 4.05 ERA over 18 starts this season, but has allowed 17 runs in 17 1/3 innings over his last four starts. There’s a very real chance that he’s hitting a bit of a wall right now. He’s currently at 104 1/3 innings and is on pace for just under 200 innings. His previous professional high was 153 1/3 innings between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season.
Zrebiec writes that Britton is slated to pitch “a couple of innings” for Double-A Bowie on the 15th and should be back up in the Orioles’ rotation by the 30th. Not only is it a strategic decision to delay his service time, but it puts him in position to make it through most of September with the big club.
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.