The Red Sox have finally broken through in Game 3 of the ALCS against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
Boston was held without a hit for 4 2/3 innings and scoreless for 6 1/3 innings, but first baseman Mike Napoli slugged a one-out solo homer to left in the top of the seventh to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey has out-dueled Verlander so far, boasting eight strikeouts and no walks over six scoreless innings. Lackey has surrendered just three hits. He’s at 88 pitches as the bottom of the seventh inning gets underway at a cold and gray — but for the time being rainless — Comerica Park.
The best-of-seven American League Championship Series is currently tied 1-1.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.