Lineups for the first of four games (!) today …
CF Coco Crisp
3B Josh Donaldson
SS Jed Lowrie
1B Brandon Moss
LF Yoenis Cespedes
DH Seth Smith
RF Josh Reddick
C Stephen Vogt
2B Eric Sogard
SP Jarrod Parker
Oakland manager Bob Melvin is going with the same lineup he used in Game 2, except Josh Donaldson and Jed Lowrie have swapped places in the batting order. Donaldson hit second 23 times during the regular season, including frequently down the stretch, and Lowrie was actually the A’s most-used No. 3 hitter all year.
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
LF Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
2B Omar Infante
SS Jose Iglesias
SP Anibal Sanchez
In an effort to boost the offense Detroit manager Jim Leyland has decided to let Jhonny Peralta make his first start of the playoffs as a left fielder. Peralta was pushed out of the shortstop job during his 50-game suspension and worked out in left field to prepare for this scenario, appearing in three games as an outfielder late in September after previously never starting at a position other than shortstop or third base.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.