From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Tigers have scratched catcher Alex Avila from their starting lineup for Game 4 of the World Series due to lingering discomfort in his right wrist.
Avila was struck on the wrist by a foul tip while catching in Game 1 out in San Francisco and has recorded just one hit since. Gerald Laird will start in his place against Giants right-hander Matt Cain.
Avila, 25, batted .243/.352/.384 with nine home runs and 48 RBI in 116 games during the regular season. Laird, 32, hit .282/.337/.374 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 63 games as his backup.
The Tigers are trying to avoid a sweep. Game 4 is scheduled to get underway just after 8 p.m. ET.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.