max scherzer getty

Looking ahead to ALCS Game 2: Tigers vs. Red Sox

9 Comments

The Red Sox were held hitless through 8 1/3 innings in Saturday night’s 1-0 ALCS Game 1 loss to the Tigers and will be looking for much more offense in Game 2 on Sunday night at Fenway Park. But that’s going to be easier said than done because the likely American League Cy Young Award recipient, Max Scherzer, will be on the mound for visiting Detroit.

The broadcast of ALCS Game 2 begins at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX. We’ll have regular updates here on HBT.

Starting for the host Red Sox will be right-hander Clay Buchholz, who allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks in a six-inning ALDS Game 3 start against the Rays. Boston wound up losing that game on a walkoff homer, and the Tigers’ offense presents a much greater challenge than Tampa Bay’s. The American League Wild Card-winning Rays scored 700 runs during the regular season and finished with a +54 run differential. Detroit, the division champions in the American League Central, scored 796 regular-season runs and finished with a +172 run differential. Buchholz missed more than three months this summer with neck and shoulder injuries and did not make a start in the regular season against this Tigers team.

Scherzer faced the Red Sox twice this season and held them to four earned runs on 11 hits in 14 innings for a 2.57 ERA. He struck out 14 batters and issued only three walks in those 14 frames. The 29-year-old right-hander out of the University of Missouri had a brilliant 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 in 32 total starts.

The Red Sox are expected to shift their lineup a bit after Saturday’s frustrating Game 1 loss, with Mike Carp likely subbing in for Mike Napoli at first base and Jonny Gomes taking over for Daniel Nava in left field.

Detroit will probably stick with the same starting nine that squeezed out that 1-0 Game 1 win.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
11 Comments

The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.