Marlins pick Ricky Nolasco as Opening Day starter

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Last year, when the Marlins were all hopped up on offseason spending and expectations, Ricky Nolasco started the third game of the season behind Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.

This year he’ll draw the Opening Day assignment, manager Mike Redmond announced this afternoon.

Nolasco also started Opening Day for the Marlins in 2009, but back then he was coming off a season in which he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 212 innings. Now he’s coming off a four-season stretch with ERAs of 4.48, 4.67, 4.51, and 5.08.

Of course, it’s not like the Marlins have anyone better.

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.