Red Sox set starting rotation: Doubront fourth, Bard fifth, Aceves pushed back to bullpen

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The Red Sox made things official at the back end of their starting rotation on Sunday morning. Brian MacPherson, Red Sox beat writer for the Providence Journal, passes along the news:

And Alfredo Aceves has been sent back to the bullpen. Felix Doubront, 24, posted a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings this spring, Bard registered a 6.57 ERA in 24 2/3 innings and Aceves had a 5.50 ERA in 18 innings.

But the guess here is that the decision was made based on much more than Grapefruit League stats.

Doubront and Bard will follow Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz when the season opens.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.