Bad news for the Athletics: Justin Verlander has another run to work with.
Sonny Gray was pulled from the game after he gave up back-to-back singles to Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to begin the top of the sixth inning. He was relieved by Dan Otero, who got Victor Martinez to ground into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. Josh Donaldson then snagged a ground ball off the bat of Omar Infante and attempted to start an inning-ending double play, but second baseman Alberto Callaspo bobbled the ball on the transfer and was unable to make a throw to first base. As a result, Martinez was able to score to extend the Tigers’ lead to 3-0.
Verlander will carry his perfect game into the bottom of the sixth inning in this win-or-go-home Game 5.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.