The Tigers are beginning to create some distance again in the American League Central standings.
Anibal Sanchez pitched efficiently in his first start back from the 15-day disabled list and Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder combined for a total of six RBI as Detroit topped Cleveland 9-4 on Saturday afternoon at Progressive Field. The Tigers are now up 3 1/2 games over the Indians in the hunt for the division title and can push that lead out to 5 1/2 games with a sweep of this four-game series (which will reach its conclusion on Monday night).
The Tigers have scored the second-most runs in the major leagues and their 3.75 staff ERA ranks ninth. Detroit’s +93 run differential is second in the bigs only to the Cardinals, who are currently +121.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Orioles 4, Yankees 5
Twins 6, Blue Jays 0
Athletics 3, Royals 4
Marlins 4, Cardinals 5
Tigers 9, Indians 4
Pirates 1, Cubs 4
Padres 4, Nationals 5
Mariners 4, Reds 13
Mets 6, Brewers 7
Astros 9, Rangers 5
Braves 13, Phillies 4
Dodgers 2, Giants 4
White Sox 0, Rays 3
Red Sox 7, Angels 9 (11 innings)
Rockies 1, Diamondbacks 11
Here are the Cubs and Cardinals lineups for Game 2 of the NLDS. First pitch is scheduled for 5:37 p.m. ET in St. Louis:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Jorge Soler
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Starlin Castro
LF Austin Jackson
C Miguel Montero
SP Kyle Hendricks
SS Addison Russell
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has made a number of changes with a left-hander on the mound for St. Louis. Jorge Soler will start in right field and bat second base while Kyle Schwarber is on the bench. Meanwhile, Austin Jackson will start over Chris Coghlan in left field. Miguel Montero is behind the plate after David Ross caught Jon Lester in Game 1 on Friday. Finally, Kyle Hendricks will bat eighth while Addison Russell will hit ninth, which he did often during the regular season.
3B Matt Carpenter
RF Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
1B Brandon Moss
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SP Jaime Garcia
The Cardinals’ lineup isn’t much different from Game 1 against left-hander Jon Lester, but there is one notable change with a right-hander on the mound. Randal Grichuk is out while Brandon Moss is in. Stephen Piscotty played first base in Game 1, but he’ll be in right field this afternoon. This means that Moss will start at first base. Yadier Molina reported no issues with his thumb in Game 1 and is right back in there to catch Garcia.
We often hear that someone “tattooed” a baseball. Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took that literally with his home run against Clayton Kershaw last night.
According to Statcast, Murphy’s fourth-inning solo blast against Kershaw left the bat at 104.9 mph and traveled an estimated distance of 415 feet. He actually hit the ball so hard that his name ended up being imprinted on it from his bat. No joke. Check it out below…
Here’s the video of the home run:
After seven seasons in Detroit, impending free agent catcher Alex Avila will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Avila’s father, Tigers general manager Al Avila, confirmed as much in his comments to the media Thursday.
Here’s a quote from Chris Iott of MLive.com:
“I don’t really see it as a priority,” Al Avila said Thursday during a season-ending meeting with media members. “Right now, (James) McCann is our starting catcher and (Bryan) Holaday is coming back but is out of options. Basically, Holaday has to be our backup catcher or he’s out of options.”
Avila has had a heck of a run in Detroit, including an All-Star appearance in 2011, but this is a business and it’s logical why the Tigers are moving on. The 28-year-old dealt with knee problems this season while batting just .191 with four home runs and a .626 OPS in 219 plate appearances. He actually had more walks (40) than he did hits (34) while falling into a backup role.
With McCann now at the top of the depth chart and Holaday as his projected backup, Avila believes that his son will likely find an opportunity on the open market “that might be more beneficial to him.”