A’s left-hander Brett Anderson made only six starts during the regular season and had not pitched since September 19 because of an oblique strain, so there was reason for concern about how he’d fare in Game 3 of the ALDS on Tuesday night against the Tigers.
It didn’t take long for those concerns to disappear.
Anderson came out scorching in the top of the first inning, fanning Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson and No. 2 hitter Omar Infante before inducing a groundout from MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera.
Anderson wound up allowing just two hits over six innings while punching out six Detroit batters as the A’s rolled to a 2-0 victory over the Tigers in what could have been a knockout game.
The Oakland bullpen also deserves great credit. Ryan Cook cruised through the seventh, Sean Doolittle fanned all three batters he faced in the eighth and Grant Balfour raged his way to a scoreless ninth.
The A’s will throw A.J. Griffin in Game 4 on Wednesday against Max Scherzer. We have a series, folks.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.