Remember last week when Bill Plaschke and Scott Miller freaked out about Don Mattingly not benching Yasiel Puig for longer than he did? About how this will lead to his ruination and how his benefits as a player could be outweighed by his attitude and on-field gaffes?
Well, since the Puig benching he has hit .292/.333/.625 with a couple of homers. That includes last night’s game when he fell a triple short of the cycle. The Dodgers are 5-2 during that stretch.
No, that’s not his June-July pace, but no one could expect that to be kept up regardless. What it is is a fine performance for a rookie — or for everyone — over a seven day period which does not suggest a guy who has gone crazy with ego and power. He’s just a ballplayer playing ball.
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.