After a three-HR assault, a three-hit six-inning Verlander gem, and a three-K 9th by Joaquin Benoit to end some bullpen drama, the Tigers go into today with a chance to start their only West Coast trip with a series win.
The Tigers give the call to Anibal today. Sanchez has had two strong outing so far (1-0, 1.50 ERA), and has struck out 13 in 12 innings so far. Look for some more today, as Anibal faces an Oakland lineup missing Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes to injuries, and seems to have a game plan of taking a lot of pitches against the Tigers staff.
Left Fielder Seth Smith is one guy that Sanchez might want to be careful with: Smith is a career 7-for-15 with 3 home runs agains Anibal.
When Anibal does need to hand over the ball the A’s will get to face a bullpen that is not only shaky, but depleted: not many pitchers will be available today. Dotel suffered elbow soreness in Friday night’s game). Coke should be available, as is Wild Brayan. And of course Don Kelly. But beyond that, who knows? The main option though, is likely to be…Rick Porcello.
You may have noticed Porcello warming up last night. Since the one off day on the West Coast trip falls on Monday, Porcello will skip his normally scheduled Tuesday start and Fister will take Tuesday, leaving Porcello as a fill-in bullpen guy.
Speaking of bullpen guys, Jose Valverde pitched to his first live batters in an extended spring training game in Lakeland (1 scoreless inning with a walk and a strikeout). Only one walk per inning? That is looking good these days.
We had a lot of good input on the potentially controversial BHIP (beard hit by a pitch) situation inspired by Josh Reddick. I should add that it should be pretty clearcut that if his beard is in the strike zone (even if his body is not), the correct call would be a strike. I think there are also potential issues such as interfering with the catcher’s throws that should be considered while forming a MLB beard policy.
Today’s A of the Day is Eric Sogard, who is one the few position players in MLB in this century to sport eyeglasses. Here we have a proposed All-Time players-with-glasses list, which overlooks a certain Tiger closer for the closer spot, preferring instead a fictional character.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Victor Martinez. Snakebit or not, the longer his slump goes the more pressure it will create. A three-hit day would solve that nicely.
Today’s Sub-less Lineup: