In theory, the Tigers were going to be significantly more dangerous in a five-game series than in a seven-gamer. All because certain AL Cy Young Award winner and probable MVP Justin Verlander would have been able to start 40 percent of the possible games, rather than 29 percent.
Now, he’s essentially starting 20.
Friday’s Game 1 between the Tigers and Yankees was suspended with the score tied 1-1 after 1 1/2 innings. So, now, with Friday’s game getting picked up Saturday and Saturday’s game being pushed back a day, we’re looking at the following matchups for the rest of the series.
Game 1: Doug Fister vs. Ivan Nova
Game 2: Max Scherzer vs. Freddy Garcia
Game 3: Justin Verlander vs. CC Sabathia
Game 4: Rick Porcello vs. A.J. Burnett
Game 5: Doug Fister vs. Ivan Nova
The only off day is scheduled for Wednesday between Games 4 and 5.
It could certainly be worse for the Tigers. Fister has pitched extremely well, and the matchup of him versus Nova seems a bit advantageous. Also, the Yankees will now be starting Burnett when they had no intention of doing so in the first place.
But the Yankees have more depth in their pitching staff than the Tigers do and are better equipped to handle five games in six days. If a Tigers starter gets knocked out early — and it’s bound to happen at least once during the series — then it’s going to be Brad Penny time. And little good can come from that.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.