David Price‘s second year with the Red Sox isn’t starting off so well. ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the lefty will undergo an MRI on his elbow and won’t make his scheduled Grapefruit League start on Saturday. Tim Britton of the Providence Journal adds that the Red Sox plan to have Price seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andres or Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Per Britton, Manager John Farrell said of Price’s elbow, “We’re concerned.” Price has had elbow soreness in past springs, but not to this degree.
Price inked a seven-year, $217 million contract with the Red Sox in December 2015. In his first season with his new team last year, he went 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA and a 228/50 K/BB ratio in 230 innings.
The Red Sox acquired another ace in Chris Sale during the offseason, but losing Price for any amount of time would still be a big blow to the team’s chances of contending in 2017. Eduardo Rodriguez or Henry Owens would move back into the rotation if Price isn’t ready for the regular season. After that… Kyle Kendrick?
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.