Looking for a jolt for their non-existent offense, the Padres have called up first baseman/outfielder Kyle Blanks from Triple-A El Paso.
Blanks was off to a hot start in the minors this season, batting .265/.364/.651 with nine home runs and five doubles over 27 games. The 27-year-old made the start at first base tonight over Yonder Alonso, who is slashing a miserable .163/.193/.221 through 31 games this season. His .404 OPS is the lowest among hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.
Blanks hit .243 with a .684 OPS last season and owns a .712 OPS in the majors, so he’s far from a sure thing to be an upgrade, but the Padres are looking for a spark right now. They entered play tonight ranked last in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and runs scored. Yikes.
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.