That’s the report from Nick Cafardo.
Napoli would be who I’d go after first if I was running the Sox. He’s two years younger than LaRoche. More flexible too, obviously, as he can catch even if he is more likely to play first base in Boston. He had an off year in 2012 but still smacked 24 homers in 108 games and took a lot of walks.
LaRoche hit .271/.343/.510 with 33 homers and drove in 100 in 2012. And he’s slick with the glove. But one gets the sense that that was a peak. He hasn’t been a substantially above-average hitter like often in his career. Hard to gauge him though, however, due to the shoulder injury and surgery he had in 2011. 2012 could be the new normal for him. Or it could be a feel-good year fluke.
Of course at the moment the Red Sox are looking to replace James Loney, so it’s not like either of them wouldn’t be a massive improvement.
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.