Max Scherzer was scratched from tonight’s scheduled start after injuring his ankle in the division-winning celebration Monday, but apparently he woke up this morning feeling a whole lot better.
Jim Leyland has changed plans, deciding to start Scherzer against the Royals after all, and Miguel Cabrera is also in the Tigers’ lineup at third base instead of taking the game off to preserve his batting average lead in the Triple Crown pursuit.
It’ll be a key start for Scherzer, because even before hurting his ankle celebrating he was a question mark for the playoffs due to lingering shoulder problems. He’s thrown just seven innings and 124 pitches in the past 20 days.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.