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.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.