John Lackey and Mike Napoli help Red Sox defeat Justin Verlander in Game 3 of ALCS

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Tigers ace Justin Verlander whiffed 10 batters and allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings in Tuesday’s ALCS Game 3 against the Red Sox, becoming the first pitcher in postseason history to fan 10 batters and yield four-or-fewer hits in three consecutive outings. But that’s not the story here.

The Red Sox got a solo home run from first baseman Mike Napoli in the top of the seventh inning to snap Verlander’s shutout bid and rode that to a 1-0 win over host Detroit at a cold and gray Comerica Park.

Boston starter John Lackey did his own Verlander impression, yielding just four hits over 6 2/3 frames while fanning eight. He did not issue a walk and was visibly frustrated when Boston manager John Farrell decided to go to the bullpen with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. But that move worked out.

Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combined to keep the Tigers scoreless, navigating in and out of a couple tight jams. The Red Sox — who battled back from a 5-0 deficit to win Game 2 at Boston’s Fenway Park — now boast a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

Game 4 of the ALCS is scheduled to get underway Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below:

The Mets are promoting Tim Tebow to Single-A St. Lucie

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Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the media on Sunday that the organization is promoting outfielder Tim Tebow from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Tebow, 29, wasn’t hitting particularly well to merit the promotion. Across 241 plate appearances with Columbia, he hit .222/.311/.340 with three home runs and 22 RBI. He had just seven extra-base hits (all doubles) in his most recent 20 games. Alderson, however, defended the decision by citing Tebow’s exit velocity and other metrics.

I think we can all agree that the real reason is that promoting Tebow creates another opportunity for the Mets to sell merchandise with his name on it.

One has to feel for the outfielder Tebow will displace. St. Lucie’s regular outfielders have comparable stats to Tebow’s, so they aren’t exactly being replaced on merit. That outfielder will see less playing time, hurting his future prospects. Adding Tebow to St. Lucie’s roster will push someone off of the roster, which will also harm that player’s future prospects. And, remember, these players don’t make much money to begin with.