Mike Napoli put the Indians on the board in an unorthodox fashion on Friday night. With one out and runners on second and third, Napoli skied a Michael Fulmer heater to left field, where it ricocheted off the grass behind Justin Upton and cleared Cleveland’s 19-foot “Little Green Monster.”
If the Tigers and Indians had played this game prior to 1930, Napoli’s double would have been credited as a home run. In 1931, a year after the American League adopted more severe restrictions on batted balls, the Chicago Tribune’s Irving Vaughan documented the rule changes that limited one-hop doubles to two bases:
Last year the American league limited to two bases any fairly batted ball which bounded over a fence or into a bleacher or grandstand. It was adopted because of the three foot concrete wall at the end of the short left field line in the Yankee stadium.
(Thanks for taking the fun out of “trick home runs,” Yankees.)
Thankfully for the Tigers, this game was played in 2016, and Justin Upton recovered quickly from the gaffe by clearing the fences himself in the second inning with a solo shot off of Corey Kluber.
The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.
With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.
Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.
It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.