NBC SportsTalk: handicapping the NL Cy Young race

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As I mentioned, last night I made my debut as a talking head on NBC SportsTalk, our new studio show on Versus (which, as of the first year, will be known as the NBC Sports Network).  I didn’t barf, drop any F-bombs or ruin any equipment, so I assume that they’ll have me back on from time to time.

We covered all kinds of ground on the show last night, so I figured I’d share some of the segments today as little video posts a la HBT Daily.  Only differences: (a) I wasn’t in my basement; and (b) no Tiffany.  Don’t worry, though: I’m taping some stuff with her later this morning, so you’ll get your fix today and tomorrow.

First up: some chatter about the NL Cy Young race.  We taped this before Halladay’s ridiculous start yesterday and before Kershaw’s aborted-yet-still-awesome game against the Dbacks.  Still, given that Cliff Lee is likely to go out there and toss a near perfect game or something, I believe the point I make about this being the tightest awards race in recent memory stands.  Today Halladay has an edge, but it’s goin’ down to the wire.

Enjoy:

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Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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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.