Anibal Sanchez works out of first-inning jam by recording four strikeouts

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Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez needed 26 pitches to escape a first-inning jam in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Red Sox. The right-hander had allowed two runners on a strikeout wild pitch and a walk, but used an array of fastballs, change-ups, and sliders to work his way out of trouble.

In fact, Sanchez recorded four strikeouts in the inning, getting Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the frame. He then got Shane Victorino to wave at strike three, but the ball skipped past catcher Alex Avila, allowing Victorino to reach safely. With runners on first and second, Sanchez got David Ortiz to strike out on consecutive check-swing strikes, then Mike Napoli to end the inning.

Sanchez is the second pitcher in baseball history to record four strikeouts in an inning during post-season play, joining Orval Overall who accomplished the feat with the Cubs in 1908.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.