John Lackey and Mike Napoli help Red Sox defeat Justin Verlander in Game 3 of ALCS

43 Comments

Tigers ace Justin Verlander whiffed 10 batters and allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings in Tuesday’s ALCS Game 3 against the Red Sox, becoming the first pitcher in postseason history to fan 10 batters and yield four-or-fewer hits in three consecutive outings. But that’s not the story here.

The Red Sox got a solo home run from first baseman Mike Napoli in the top of the seventh inning to snap Verlander’s shutout bid and rode that to a 1-0 win over host Detroit at a cold and gray Comerica Park.

Boston starter John Lackey did his own Verlander impression, yielding just four hits over 6 2/3 frames while fanning eight. He did not issue a walk and was visibly frustrated when Boston manager John Farrell decided to go to the bullpen with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. But that move worked out.

Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara combined to keep the Tigers scoreless, navigating in and out of a couple tight jams. The Red Sox — who battled back from a 5-0 deficit to win Game 2 at Boston’s Fenway Park — now boast a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

Game 4 of the ALCS is scheduled to get underway Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

Marcus Stroman: José Bautista could ‘easily’ pitch in MLB bullpen

José Bautista and Marcus Stroman
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Leave a comment

José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.

Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”

In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”

Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”

Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:

Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”

I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.