By trading Ty Wigginton last night the Rockies seemingly increased their odds of keeping Ian Stewart around for 2012, but general manager Dan O’Dowd told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that they “always planned on tendering” Stewart a contract.
Stewart spent much of this season at Triple-A despite being a 27-year-old with 1,400 career plate appearances in the majors. He also hit just .156 in 48 games for the Rockies while earning $2.3 million and will be in line for at least that much via the arbitration process.
Stewart is much better than he showed this season, but investing $3 million in his getting back on track is a questionable decision given that he’s a career .236 hitter with a .751 OPS despite calling Coors Field home. If the Rockies indeed retain Stewart and he flops again they have Jordan Pacheco waiting in the wings with top prospect Nolan Arenado potentially ready by midseason.
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.