Johnny Cueto departs Game 1 of NLDS due to back spasms

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Brutal development for the Reds out in San Fran.

Staff ace Johnny Cueto was lifted from Saturday night’s NLDS Game 1 against the Giants just eight pitches in after appearing to tweak his side or back on a delivery to No. 2 hitter Marco Scutaro.

Cueto immediately hunched over after the toss and walked off the field alongside two trainers without making much of an argument. It’s safe to wonder whether he’s done for the rest of the postseason.

Sam LeCure, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 57 1/3 regular-season innings, took the mound in his place.

Cueto had a 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170/49 K/BB ratio in 33 starts this year for the NL Central champs.

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UPDATE, 10:14 PM: Cueto has been diagnosed with back spasms and is merely listed as day-to-day. Considering how bad the situation looked initially, this seems like promising news for the Reds.

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.