Through the first 14 innings, the ALCS had been a pitcher-dominated affair. Anibal Sanchez and the Tiger bullpen held the Red Sox hitless through eight and two-thirds innings in Game 1 and Scherzer has held the Sox hitless through five in Game 2. To their credit, the Sox pitching has been nearly as good — that is, until the top of the sixth inning.
With one out, facing starter Clay Buchholz with a narrow 1-0 lead, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera launched a solo home run over the Green Monster in left field for what was, at the time, an insurance run. Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez followed up with back-to-back doubles, the latter scoring the former. Later in the inning, with two outs, Alex Avila laced a 91 MPH Buchholz fastball well over the fence in right field for a two-run homer, putting the Tigers up 5-0.
Omar Infante then lined a single to left-center, ending Buchholz’s night. Red Sox manager John Farrell called on Brandon Workman to see them through the end of the sixth. After walking Don Kelly, Workman got Austin Jackson to ground out to, at long last, end the inning.
Oh, and about that no-hitter Scherzer has going? He has nine strikeouts to go along with it. Red Sox batters have swung and missed at 15 of his 76 pitches thus far. This could get interesting.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.