Tigers helped by blown call, Game 1 of ALCS is tied

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Tigers right-hander Doug Fister has been uncharacteristically wild in this ALCS Game 1 at Yankee Stadium, allowing three walks through two innings. But he was bailed out on a nice play by Jhonny Peralta with the bases loaded in the first inning and a blown call by first base umpire Rob Drake with the bases juiced again in the second.

Robinson Cano hit a ball off Fister’s wrist and beat out Peralta’s throw to first base. If called correctly, Russell Martin would have scored from third base.

As is, this first game of a best-of-seven is tied 0-0 entering the bottom of the third inning.

Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte has been sharp, yielding just two hits while fanning three Detroit batters over his first three frames. He entered the evening with 270 career postseason innings to his name and looks about as comfortable as a person can possibly be on the mound in a mid-October start.

There were quite a few empty seats when the game began, but Yankee Stadium now looks pretty full.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.