The Tigers are inching closer to the Red Sox in Game 5 of the ALCS.
After Jon Lester walked Victor Martinez to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning, he bounced back by striking out Jhonny Peralta swinging. However, Omar Infante followed with a bloop single which dropped in front of a diving Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, which was enough for John Farrell to pull Lester in favor of Junichi Tazawa. The pitching change didn’t pay immediate dividends, as Brayan Pena knocked in Martinez with an RBI single to left-center, but Tazawa was able to get Austin Jackson to ground into an inning-ending double play to prevent any further damage. Dustin Pedroia made a nice turn at second base in order to make it happen.
The Red Sox lead the Tigers by the score of 4-2 in the top of the seventh inning.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.