A triple and a two-run homer from Yoenis Cespedes simply wasn’t enough for the A’s Friday as the Tigers took Game 1 of the ALDS 3-2.
Cespedes was responsible for two-thirds of Oakland’s hits in the game. The other was a little infield single from Brandon Moss in the seventh. Immediately after that was when Cespedes hit his bomb off Max Scherzer. It was the only time Cespedes got to hit with a man on.
Besides Moss and Cespedes, the only Athletic to reach base safely was Coco Crisp. He did so three times via the walk. The A’s struck out 16 times, with Cespedes contributing two of those himself.
The no-name bottom of the order of Stephen Vogt, Daric Barton and Eric Sogard couldn’t get anything going, finishing 0-for-8. Barton, in there partly for his defense, had a misplay that contributed to the three-run first off Bartolo Colon and ended up striking out in all three of his at-bats. He may well take a seat on Saturday, with Moss moving back to first and possibly Seth Smith getting the nod at DH.
Scherzer allowed a total of 16 extra-base hits to right-handed hitters this year, making Cespedes’ showing especially impressive. It was the first time this year that Scherzer had given up a homer and another extra-base hit to a batter in the same game. The only two to have to extra-base hits off him were Nick Swisher (double, triple on May 10) and Asdrubal Cabrera (two doubles on Aug. 8).
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.