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.
The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.
It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.