UPDATE: Athletics reacquire catcher Kurt Suzuki from Nationals

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Undoing a trade made a year ago, the A’s have acquired Kurt Suzuki from the Nationals for pitching prospect Dakota Bacus.

Amanda Comak of the Washington Times was the first with the news Thursday night.

With Oakland’s No. 1 (John Jaso), No. 2 (Derek Norris) and No. 4 (Luke Montz) catchers all on the shelf, the A’s needed to find someone to share time with Stephen Vogt. Suzuki makes perfect sense as a stopgap, even though he’s hit just .223/.284/.311 in 251 at-bats for the Nationals this year. He spent six years with the A’s until being dealt last August, and he’s familiar with several of their pitchers.

When the A’s traded Suzuki a year ago, it was primarily a salary dump, and the Nationals wanted him because Wilson Ramos was out with a torn ACL. Ramos had since displaced Suzuki, rendering him expendable once again. Suzuki will be a free agent at season’s end. His $8.5 million club option is sure to be declined, leaving him with a $650,000 buyout.

The ironic twist in this is that the Suzuki acquisition will cost David Freitas his chance to join the A’s, at least for now. Freitas was the prospect the A’s got from the Nationals for Suzuki last year, and he was in line for the callup should Norris go on the DL with his fractured toe.

Bacus, 22, was Oakland’s ninth-round pick in the 2012 draft. He was 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA and a 90/38 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings for low Single-A Beloit this season. He wasn’t considered one of Oakland’s top 8-10 pitching prospects.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.