You’d think that hitting .157 in 57 games as a 42-year-old and getting released by the Angels would signal the end of the line for Raul Ibanez, but instead he’s quickly found a new home and a major-league contact with the Royals.
Ibanez had a lot of success in Kansas City from 2001-2003 and it’s certainly worth noting that he smacked 29 homers last season, but he looked awfully washed up with the Angels and if this move was going to come from any general manager Dayton Moore would probably have been most people’s first guess.
Presumably the Royals will limit Ibanez’s playing time to occasional starts at designated hitter and some bench bat work, although with Moore and manager Ned Yost you never know.
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.