Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez tossed six no-hit innings and Al Alburquerque was responsible for one himself as Jose Veras took the mound at Fenway Park in the bottom of the eighth inning attempting to preserve a potentially historic feat. The right-hander retired both hitters he faced, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia, on strikeouts before giving way to Drew Smyly as David Ortiz stepped to the plate. Smyly got Ortiz to fly out to center, meaning that the Tigers will enter the ninth inning three outs away from a combined post-season no-hitter.
Closer Joaquin Benoit will have the task of recording three more outs without allowing a hit — and more importantly, a run, as Game 1 of the ALCS is still quite close and still quite winnable for the Red Sox at 1-0. Benoit will face Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, and Stephen Drew.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.