It’s do-or-die time. Here are the lineups for Game 5 of the ALDS between the Tigers and A’s. First pitch is scheduled for 9:37 p.m. ET:
DETROIT TIGERS OAKLAND ATHLETICS
1. Austin Jackson, CF 1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Quintin Berry, LF 2. Stephen Drew, SS
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B 3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B 4. Seth Smith, DH
5. Delmon Young, DH 5. Josh Reddick, RF
6. Andy Dirks, RF 6. Josh Donaldson, 3B
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS 7. Brandon Moss, 1B
8. Alex Avila, C 8. Derek Norris, C
9. Omar Infante 2B 9. Cliff Pennington, 2B
SP Justin Verlander, RHP SP Jarrod Parker, RHP
No changes from last night’s lineup for the Tigers. Justin Verlander will pitch the decisive Game 5 after allowing one run over seven innings while striking out 11 in a Game 1 victory last Saturday.
The Athletics, meanwhile, have made a couple of changes. Seth Smith, who had the game-tying two-run double in the ninth inning last night, will move into the cleanup spot while Brandon Moss slides down to seventh. They have essentially swapped places in the order. Moss is 1-for-13 with seven strikeouts during the series. Jarrod Parker is back for the A’s after allowing three runs (two earned) over 6 1/3 innings in a Game 1 loss last Saturday.
Feel free to discuss the game in the comments section.
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.