Justin Verlander starting Game 1 was a given and today the Tigers announced the rest of their ALDS rotation against the A’s:
Doug Fister in Game 2, Anibal Sanchez in Game 3, and Max Scherzer in Game 4. And then if the series goes to a Game 5 it would be Verlander getting the ball again.
If healthy Scherzer seems likely to have gotten a start before Game 4, but between late-season shoulder problems and tweaking his ankle celebrating the division title manager Jim Leyland smartly decided to give him as much rest as possible. And it’s not like Fister and Sanchez are bad Game 2 and Game 3 options, obviously.
Detroit using four right-handers starters means the left-handed-hitting side of Oakland’s platoons will have to step up, as Brandon Moss and Seth Smith will likely be starting every game with Chris Carter and Jonny Gomes on the bench. Overall this season the A’s essentially had equal production versus righties and lefties.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.