Not so long ago Indians right-hander Vinnie Pestano was one of the best relievers in baseball, throwing 132 innings with a 2.45 ERA and 160 strikeouts between 2011 and 2012, but he struggled with elbow problems last season and is now headed back to the minors at age 29.
Pestano allowed six runs in three appearances to begin this season and his fastball averaged just 88.7 miles per hour, compared to a career average of 92.0 mph. Clearly something still isn’t right with his arm, but he’ll go to Triple-A instead of the disabled list.
Cody Allen has taken over for Pestano as the Indians’ primary setup man for closer John Axford, but getting Pestano healthy and anywhere close to his old self would be a huge boost to Cleveland’s chances in the AL Central.
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.