ALCS Game 1 halted in fifth inning by two rain delays

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A fairly sizable rain storm is now making its way through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, so the Rangers’ groundscrew has rolled out the tarp and put a temporary halt to Game 1 of the ALCS. There’s been no estimate as to when the action might resume.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of a David Murphy RBI triple and an Ian Kinsler RBI single. Rejuvenated slugger Nelson Cruz then pushed the lead to 3-0 with a towering solo shot to left field in the fourth.

Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson has scattered five hits and fanned six batters over four scoreless innings, but his night will be ended prematurely if the rain sticks around for more than a couple of minutes. Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who has surrendered three earned runs in four innings of work, might also be finished.

UPDATE, 9:53pm: Joe Torre told the FOX broadcast that the delay will probably last between 25-30 minutes.

UPDATE, 10:02pm: The tarp has been rolled off. Game 1 of the ALCS should be back underway shortly.

UPDATE, 10:23pm: The game has resumed. Wilson will remain on the mound for the Rangers, but it looks like Verlander is coming out. Rick Porcello, scheduled to start Game 4, is warming in the visitors ‘pen.

UPDATE, 10:37pm: The tarp is being rolled back out, with the rain falling harder than ever. Wilson seemed to lose his command while waiting out the first delay and has now allowed two runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Tigers, down 3-2, have the bases loaded and will be looking to pour on more when play resumes.

UPDATE, 11:19pm: The tarp is coming off. Game 1 of the ALCS is expected to resume around 11:45 p.m. ET. Mike Gonzalez will replace Wilson and Porcello will take the mound for the Tigers.

UPDATE, 11:44pm: Play has finally resumed. Gonzalez will face Tigers catcher Alex Avila in the fifth.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.