Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz didn’t have enough gas to get through the sixth inning of Game 6. After shutting the Tigers out through five, he showed diminished velocity and command, as he walked lead-off batter Torii Hunter on consecutive 88 MPH fastballs. He then surrendered a single to Miguel Cabrera through the hole between third base and shortstop, prompting manager John Farrell to exit the dugout to bring in lefty reliever Franklin Morales.
The slide continued as Morales walked the struggling Prince Fielder on four pitches, then was nearly taken deep by Victor Martinez, who drove a single high off of the Green Monster in left-center, scoring Hunter and Cabrera.
Farrell called on right-hander Brandon Workman to halt the Tigers’ newfound momentum. He did, getting Jhonny Peralta to hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia dashed towards Martinez caught in no-man’s land off the first base bag, tagging him for one out. He then fired home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, catching Fielder in a rundown. Saltalamacchia chased Fielder up the line back to third base, tagging him a foot off the bag. Peralta advanced to second base on the play, then was pinch-run for by Don Kelly.
Workman struck out Alex Avila looking to end the frame. Though the Tigers took the lead, the Red Sox have to feel good about how they played damage control. Not only could the score have been much, much worse, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland removed one of his best hitters thus far in the post-season for a pinch-runner, who ultimately failed to even attempt to score.
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.
Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.
As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”
The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.