It took nearly 15 innings, but the Red Sox are finally on the board in the ALCS. After the Tigers put up a four-spot in the top half of the sixth, the Red Sox mounted a two-out rally against Max Scherzer to end his no-hit bid and keep hope alive in Game 2 of the ALCS.
Scherzer struck out Will Middlebrooks and got Jacoby Ellsbury to foul out to start what looked like an easy sixth inning, but ShaneVictorino laced a single to left field, the second hit the Sox had managed in nearly 15 innings of play in the ALCS and the first in Game 2. Then, with Victorino running, Pedroia skied a fly ball to left field, clanging high off of the Green Monster in left field. Victorino scored easily and Pedroia scampered into second base with the score now 5-1. Scherzer did not relent any more, however, striking out Ortiz to end the threat.
Something to keep an eye on: The Red Sox have already struck out 11 times against Scherzer in six innings. They struck out 12 times against Anibal Sanchez in six innings and five times against the Tiger bullpen in three innings in Game 1. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 28 strikeouts in 57 trips to the plate (49%). Not good.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.