The Orioles announced a handful of roster moves on Wednesday, chief among them being the activation of closer Zach Britton from the 60-day disabled list. Starter Chris Tillman was also placed on the paternity list, pitcher Jayson Aquino was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, and infielder Ryan Flaherty was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
Britton, 29, had been out since May 5 with a strained left forearm. To that point, he had recorded the save in all five chances with a 1.00 ERA and a 7/4 K/BB ratio in nine innings. Brad Brach handled save situations in Britton’s absence, going 11-for-14 in save chances with a 3.22 ERA since the beginning of May.
Manager Buck Showalter said that Britton will be eased back into the ninth inning, but he’ll eventually take back his role as the closer.
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.