The leadoff men are the stars so far in Game 1.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander allowed a solo homer to Coco Crisp in the very top of the first inning, then issued a one-out walk to Yoenis Cespedes before escaping the frame with back-to-back strikeouts of Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick. Verlander is no stranger to high pitch counts, but he needed 26 tosses to get the first three outs of the evening.
In the bottom of the first, the Tigers’ Austin Jackson opened with a double off A’s starter Jarrod Parker then scored from third base when MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera hit into a double play following a Quintin Berry infield single.
Parker threw 17 pitches. The score is 1-1 as this ALDS opener moves to the second inning.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.