Marco Scutaro hit .362 in 61 regular season games for the Giants, was named MVP of the NLCS, and delivered the World Series-winning hit in Game 4 last night.
It was one helluva stint in San Francisco for the 37-year-old veteran and made even more amazing by the fact that three months ago Scutaro was playing for a last-place team and playing pretty poorly too.
Before the Rockies traded Scutaro to the Giants on July 27 he hit just .271 with a .324 on-base percentage and .361 slugging percentage in 95 games. To put in some context, consider that Scutaro’s batting average (.362) with the Giants was higher than his slugging percentage (.361) with the Rockies and his .684 OPS for Colorado was the worst mark of his entire career despite calling Coors Field home.
Away from the best hitter’s ballpark in baseball Scutaro hit .238 with a .570 OPS in 47 games for the Rockies, who traded him for a non-prospect and then watched him hit .362 in the regular season and .328 in the postseason.
Scutaro said it best when asked about his journey from playing poorly on a last-place team to starring on the World Series winners: “This is a dream come true. If anybody would’ve told me in late June that I was going to be in the World Series, or I was going to be a world champ, I would’ve slapped you in the face.”
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.