Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen has been trying to avoid a trip to the disabled list after suffering a an avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of his left 11th rib one week ago against the Diamondbacks. The Pirates have been taking it slow, giving McCutchen time to heal up, and it appears to have been the right call.
Via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said of the defending NL MVP’s recovery: “His progress has been remarkable. That’s the most apt word I can put on it.” Huntington continued:
The Pirates, who lost to the Padres 8-2 on Sunday afternoon, have gone 3-3 since McCutchen’s last start on August 3. The 27-year-old four-time All-Star was in the midst of another MVP-esque season, blasting 17 home runs, knocking in 67 runs, stealing 17 bases, and slashing .311/.411/.536.
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.