As noted in our handy little ALCS Game 5 Live Blog, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was pulled from Wednesday’s game because of tightness in his left hamstring — the same hamstring that forced him to the disabled list twice this year. He landed on the disabled list a third time with right hamstring problems.
For now, it appears the slugger will be fine for the rest of the postseason.
Cruz told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez after Wednesday’s loss that he was pulled for precautionary reasons and that he should be good to go by Game 6 on Friday.
The 30-year-old is batting .378/.410/.838 with four home runs and five doubles over 37 at-bats in these 2010 playoffs. He is a monster at the plate and will play a crucial role in what will either be a horrible collapse or a joyous celebration in this ALCS with New York. The Rangers, as a franchise, have never been to the World Series and have only been to the playoffs four times since 1961.
Despite the earlier rain, the All-Star Game got underway on time and following the usual pregame festivities Max Scherzer took the hill to face the American League.
Scherzer did great in the first inning, striking out Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve and then, following a walk to Mike Trout and giving up a single to J.D. Matinez, retired Jose Ramirez on a weak popup. Scherzer was cooing with gas: the reigning Cy Young winner had not thrown a pitch as fast as 98 m.p.h. all season, but he threw three of those during his scoreless first.
Chris Sale‘s work in the bottom half was more about nasty stuff than mere heat. Following a leadoff single allowed to Javier Baez he got Nolan Arenado to fly out to left, struck out Paul Goldschmidt on a nasty slider and then got Freddie Freeman out via a fly to left.
Aaron Judge led off the second. The same Aaron Judge someone wrote today could be trade bait if the Yankees felt so inclined. Which, um, OK, that was dumb anyway, but it looked even dumber when Judge muscled Scherzer’s second pitch — a letter-high fastball — out to left field with many, many feet to spare for a homer.
Scherzer got the rest of the A.L. side, but the damage had been done. The American League leads 1-0 after an inning and a half.