Mark Prior’s latest comeback has brought him to Triple-A for the Red Sox’s affiliate and, so far at least, he’s been healthy and effective.
We’re only talking about three appearances, of course, but Prior has thrown 4.2 innings with a 0.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts.
His velocity, while not where it was before all the injuries, has reportedly been pretty solid facing a handful of hitters per outing as a reliever and despite seemingly being around forever Prior is still just 31 years old.
Prior has reached the point in his career where it doesn’t really make any logical sense to get excited about his performance or optimistic about him getting back to the majors, but … well, 10 strikeouts in 4.2 innings is worth a mention for a guy baseball fans should be rooting for.
Through age 24 he had a 3.24 ERA and 719 strikeouts in 613 innings. That was in 2005. He struggled in 2006, going 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA, and hasn’t throwing a major-league pitch since.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.