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.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.