Matt Thornton threw a simulated game yesterday at Fenway Park to prepare himself in case the Red Sox wanted to add him to the roster for the World Series, but they’ve decided against activating the veteran left-hander.
That means Thornton will have sat out the entire postseason after being acquired from the White Sox in July as what the Red Sox hoped would be a late-inning setup man.
Thornton has been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball for nearly a decade, posting a 3.29 ERA in 479 innings since 2006, but he missed time following the trade with an oblique injury. Still, given how hesitant manager John Farrell has been to trust more than 2-3 key relievers in high-leverage spots you’d think they could find some use for Thornton after deeming him worth trading for just three months ago.
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.