Andrew Cashner to start Opening Day for Padres

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Padres manager Bud Black announced earlier this evening that right-hander Andrew Cashner will start the team’s season opener against the Dodgers on March 30. It will be the first Opening Day assignment of his career.

Once a top pitching prospect with the Cubs, Cashner dealt with a bunch of injuries early on his career, but he finally began to realize his potential last season. After making a few early appearances out of the bullpen, he joined San Diego’s rotation in late April and posted a 3.04 ERA and 119/41 K/BB ratio in 165 2/3 innings over 26 starts. While the strikeout rate was lower than expected given his velocity, he missed more bats as the season moved along and posted a ground ball rate above 50 percent. He’s carrying some serious momentum into 2014.

Cashner is part of an interesting rotation in San Diego which also projects to include Ian Kennedy, Josh Johnson, Tyson Ross and Eric Stults. This team could surprise if things break right.

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.