Manny Machado “has got a real chance” to be ready for Opening Day

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Initially when third baseman Manny Machado had knee surgery in October the Orioles indicated that they didn’t expect him back in time for Opening Day, but those plans have apparently changed a bit.

According to manager Buck Showalter that initial timetable was merely the team wanting to “put a real safe date on it” and now that Machado has progressed well in the early stages of his rehab “he’s got a real chance to make the start of the season.”

Showalter also told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that Machado would need to be healthy enough to play in spring training games by March 15 in order for the Orioles to consider activating him for Opening Day, so that’ll be the new timetable to track.

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.