The Red Sox were held hitless for six innings by Anibal Sanchez back in Game 1 of the ALCS on Saturday, but they are off to a quick start against him tonight.
Mike Napoli led off the top of the second inning with a long home run to straightaway center field to get the Red Sox on the board. It traveled an estimated 460 feet, which ESPN’s Buster Olney notes is the longest in the postseason since Prince Fielder in 2008. Jonny Gomes then reached on an error by Miguel Cabrera and Xander Bogaerts delivered a one-out double, which set up an RBI double by David Ross. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with an infield single to get another run across.
The Red Sox were prevented from getting a fourth run after Shane Victorino hit a ground ball to second base and Alex Avila managed to hold on to throw to home plate following a nasty collision with David Ross. Avila was checked out by a team trainer, but managed to stay in the game. It’s worth noting that both Avila and Ross missed time with concussions this season.
With Jon Lester on the hill, the Red Sox lead Game 5 by score of 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning in Detroit.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.