We had some drama in the bottom of the fourth inning of this NLCS Game 4 at Dodger Stadium.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn served up a leadoff double to Adrian Gonzalez, a walk to Andre Ethier and then sent what appeared to be a brushback pitch in the direction of Yasiel Puig’s head. Puig, who pimped a triple in the Dodgers’ Game 3 victory, pivoted as if he was considering charging the mound. But he thought better of it and laced a run-scoring single past Cardinals shortstop Daniel Descalso instead, cutting into the early 3-0 St. Louis lead.
A.J. Ellis then singled home Ethier, pushing the score to 3-2. Lynn worked out of the frame thanks to a Skip Schumaker doubleplay ball, but it was another shaky inning from the 26-year-old right-hander. Then again, Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco has already been pulled from the game. We could be in for a long night.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.