Jim Leyland announced that Anibal Sanchez will start Game 1 of the ALCS and while the Detroit manager didn’t lay out his rotation plans beyond the series opener it’s likely that Justin Verlander throwing 111 pitches in his dominant outing against the A’s last night means he won’t be available until Game 3 versus Boston.
And so the poor Tigers will have to use the American League ERA leader, Sanchez, in Game 1 versus the Red Sox and then likely use the soon-to-be American League Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, in Game 2. Must be tough.
Sanchez had a rough start against the A’s in the ALDS, serving up three homers and allowing six runs in Game 3, but he led the league with a 2.57 ERA in 29 regular season starts while racking up 202 strikeouts in 182 innings.
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.