By defeating the Rays in four games the Rangers got a chance to set up their ALCS rotation in the same order as the ALDS, but the Tigers will juggle things a bit after needing five games to defeat the Yankees.
Jim Leyland avoided using Justin Verlander as a reliever in Game 5, so he’ll be fully rested to start the series opener against the Rangers. Rick Porcello will follow him in Game 2, moving up in the rotation because Doug Fister and Max Scherzer both pitched in Game 5 last night.
That means Verlander is scheduled to start just two of the seven games, although obviously Leyland may change plans if the Tigers are down 2-1 or 3-0 when Game 4 rolls around.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.