Jim Thome hasn’t played an inning at first base since 2007, when he started one game for the White Sox, but yesterday the 41-year-old designated hitter played half a game there and managed to avoid any injuries.
He won’t be replacing Ryan Howard, but the Phillies are trying to at least prepare Thome for occasional duty at first base and so far he seems optimistic about his body holding up.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports that Thome will likely put a glove on again tomorrow or Wednesday and he’s been taking plenty of reps at first base in practice.
Last time he started more than a handful of games at first base in a season? Way back in 2005, which also happens to be the final year of his first go-around with the Phillies.
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.