The American League Championship Series is 2-2.
Tigers starter Doug Fister delivered six innings of one-run ball and the Detroit offense broke out in a major way in Wednesday night’s 7-3 ALCS Game 4 victory over the visiting Red Sox at Comerica Park. Fister dealt with at least one Boston baserunner in each of his six frames, but he was able to work out of those jams while racking up seven strikeouts. He surrendered eight total hits but issued only one walk.
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy pitched a perfect first inning, but the wheels fell off for him in the bottom of the second. He yielded five runs in that frame on three walks, two singles and a double, and then the Tigers tagged him for two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Peavy made it to just 65 pitches and has now yielded 21 earned runs in 18 1/3 career postseason frames, dating back to his days with the Padres.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland made a couple of bold moves with his lineup heading into Game 4, dropping Austin Jackson to the No. 8 spot and bumping Torii Hunter to leadoff. Miguel Cabrera hit second for the first time since 2004. And it all worked out perfectly. Jackson, who was buried in a postseason slump, snapped out of it for two hits, two walks and two RBI in four trips to the plate. Hunter and Cabrera also drove in two.
Jacoby Ellsbury went 4-for-5 and the Red Sox actually out-hit the Tigers, but that will soon be forgotten.
Game 5 of the ALCS is on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET in Detroit. It’ll be Jon Lester vs. Anibal Sanchez.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.