The forecast suggests the Tigers and White Sox should be able to get this game in tonight before the rains arrive. Saturday is much more questionable, which makes a timely game all the more important for these guys.
Ezequiel Carrera gets the start in center field tonight against White Sox starter Scott Carroll, who’s allowing a .300 (77-for-257) average to left-handed hitters. Considering right-handed batters are hitting .289 off him, this is not exactly a massive difference in splits. It is, however, an opportunity to get Carrera some at-bats.
On the White Sox side, Avisail Garcia gets to face his old club tonight for the first time all year in this injury-shortened season of his.
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Torii Hunter, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- J.D. Martinez, LF
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- Alex Avila, C
- Eugenio Suarez, SS
- Ezequiel Carrera, CF
P: Justin Verlander
WHITE SOX (career numbers against Verlander)
- Adam Eaton, CF (2-for-7, double, triple, walk, 2 K’s)
- Alexei Ramirez, SS (18-for-67, double, HR, 2 walks, 9 K’s)
- Jose Abreu, 1B (4-for-9, 2 HR, 4 K’s)
- Adam Dunn, DH (7-for-33, double, 3 HR, 3 walks, 14 K’s)
- Avisail Garcia, RF
- Conor Gillaspie, 3B (2-for-9, double, walk, K)
- Tyler Flowers, C (3-for-15, 2 HR, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
- Alejandro De Aza, LF (6-for-28, triple, 2 HR, 2 walks, 8 K’s)
- Carlos Sanchez, 2B
P: Scott Carroll
Jose Ortega looked like an upside reliever in the Tigers system not that long ago, a harder-throwing, high-strikeout reliever who had flashes of nasty stuff. His Major League stints, however, have been less impressive. With the Tigers out of injured players to put on the 60-day DL (sorry, but Anibal Sanchez isn’t going there, at least not yet) and out of positional prospects to designate, they had to make a tough choice on who they could afford to lose to make room for Evan Reed.
Exit Ortega, whose contract was designated for assignment on Friday.
Ortega had some outstanding early numbers at Triple-A Toledo, but his season turned south down the stretch. Whether that had anything to do with not getting a midsummer call amidst the parade of relievers shuffling up to Detroit isn’t clear. In any case, he had a 4.78 ERA and a .406 OBP allowed from June 19 on, which pretty much separated him from Justin Miller.
Ortega’s only appearance as a Tiger this year was the game in which Anibal Sanchez left early with injury. Ortega gave up four runs over 1 1/3 innings without giving up a base hit, thanks to five walks.
Kyle Ryan began the year trying to show Tigers player development folks he could make the jump from the pitcher-friendly Class A Florida State League to the Eastern League. He got his chance at Triple-A Toledo less than four weeks ago after injuries and trades sapped some organizational depth.
Now, he’s going to get his shot in the big leagues. After some very good starts for the Mud Hens, Ryan is going to get the call to make the spot start Saturday against the White Sox in Chicago.
The Tigers announced the move Thursday. In so doing, Brad Ausmus said he knows little about him besides the numbers and the glowing recommendation of Tigers personnel.
“He’s left-handed,” manager Brad Ausmus said in summary of his knowledge on him. “I haven’t heard too much about him at this point. I do know he’s been throwing the ball well as of late.”
Kyle Ryan went from a 12-game winner at Class A Lakeland last year to mercurial starter at Double-A Erie this spring. Then he found a hot stretch at Triple-A Toledo after being promoted a month ago. He’s 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts at Toledo so far, allowing six earned runs on 21 hits over 33 innings with five walks and 20 strikeouts.
Those outings include 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball in his Triple-A debut on Aug. 2, seven scoreless innings against Lehigh Valley six days later, eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings against Indianapolis Aug. 14, seven innings of one-run ball against Columbus Aug. 20, and six innings of one-hit ball three days ago against Louisville.
Ryan got the call over Buck Farmer, who made two spot starts for the Tigers this month but was knocked out in the second inning of his start in last Saturday’s doubleheader at Minnesota.
Ryan was already on turn for a Saturday start for Toledo. Instead, he’ll match up against whoever the White Sox call up for their spot starter. As of now, the matchup is supposed to be the nightcap, with Chris Sale and Max Scherzer dueling in the day game.
The Tigers will have to make room on the 40-man roster for Ryan. And unless they put Sanchez on the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season, they’ll have to designate somebody for assignment to make room.
Ryan will be the 12th Tigers pitcher to make his Major League debut this season. He will also be the 11th different pitcher to start a game for Detroit this year, compared with just six last year and 10 in each of the two seasons before that. They used 11 starters in 2010, including spot starts for Phil Coke, Eddie Bonine and Alfredo Figaro.
Kyle Lobstein’s first Major League start coincides with Derek Jeter’s (likely) last game at Comerica Park. If Jeter sends another line drive into right field, Lobstein will be the 930th different pitcher to give up a hit to the future Hall of Famer.
TIGERS (career numbers vs. Hiroki Kuroda)
- Rajai Davis, CF (6-for-19, double, HR, K)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-17, HR, 2 walks, K)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (6-for-15, double, 2 HR, 2 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-5, K)
- J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-6, K)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
- Don Kelly, LF (1-for-3)
- Alex Avila, C (2-for-9, HR, 2 K’s)
- Andrew Romine, SS (1-for-3, HR, K)
P: Kyle Lobstein
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Derek Jeter, SS
- Martin Prado, 2B
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Carlos Beltran, DH
- Brian McCann, C
- Chase Headley, 3B
- Brett Gardner, LF
- Zelous Wheeler, RF
P: Hiroki Kuroda
Three weeks ago, Shane Greene faced a Tigers lineup without Miguel Cabrera or Torii Hunter starting and shut it down on five singles over eight innings with five strikeouts, saddling Rick Porcello with a 1-0 loss at Yankee Stadium. Porcello got his revenge Tuesday night. Now the Tigers will field their regular lineup against Greene at Comerica Park, hoping to earn David Price a win in his first outing since taking a loss on a one-hitter with an unearned run at Tampa Bay.
TIGERS (numbers off Shane Greene)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (2-for-4, K)
- Torii Hunter, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-3)
- J.D. Martinez, LF (0-for-2, walk)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-2, walk, 2 K’s)
- Alex Avila, C (0-for-2, walk)
- Eugenio Suarez, SS
- Rajai Davis, CF (0-for-4, K)
P: David Price
YANKEES (career numbers vs. Price)
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (17-for-52, 5 doubles, 2 triples, HR, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
- Derek Jeter, SS (19-for-63, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 8 walks, 8 K’s)
- Martin Prado, 2B (4-for-9, double, HR, 3 K’s)
- Mark Teixeira, 1B (11-for-54, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 5 walks, 5 K’s)
- Carlos Beltran, RF (2-for-13, 4 K’s)
- Brian McCann, DH (5-for-12, 3 HR, walk, K)
- Chase Headley, 3B (0-for-4, 2 K’s)
- Brett Gardner, LF (2-for-20, 4 walks, 5 K’s)
- Francisco Cervelli, C (0-for-4, 2 K’s)
P: Shane Greene
The Tigers have until sometime later today to try to work out a deal with the Astros for Chad Qualls, whom they claimed on revocable waivers Monday. As of now, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to do it.
The growing belief is that the Astros are not inclined to move Qualls, much as they weren’t last month when he could be traded to any team without having to clear waivers. Between Qualls’ manageable contract that runs through next season with an option for 2016, and Qualls’ clear desire to stay in Houston, there’s not a lot of motivation.
“I don’t think there’s anything to talk about,” manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday. “As far as I know, Tigers baseball stance, there’s really nothing to it.”
The Tigers put in a claim for Qualls on Monday. Under terms of revocable waivers, the Astros have 48 hours (thus, until Wednesday) to work out a trade, pull Qualls back off waivers or let him go to the Tigers. The third option is a virtual certainty not to happen. Detroit must put together a deal, or Houston has to hold onto Qualls for the rest of the season.
The Tigers were interested in Qualls last month before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but the Astros were reticent to deal. The two teams worked out a deal last summer for the Astros’ previous closer, Jose Veras, in exchange for outfielder Danry Vasquez and pitcher David Paulino. With Qualls under a multi-year contract, rather than a rental, the Astros would be expected to seek more-advanced prospects.
Houston had a pro scout in Reading, Pa., while Double-A Erie was in town this past weekend. The SeaWolves have a selection of high-rising prospects, including slugging outfielder Steven Moya, gifted hitting infielder Devon Travis and reliever Angel Nesbitt.
However the Tigers — who parted with highly ranked prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel for Joakim Soria in July — appear unlikely to do the same for another reliever.
“I could have signed there in the offseason, and obviously they tried to trade for me at the Deadline, and with me being put on waivers, why wouldn’t they take another chance now?” Qualls told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “Yet again, nothing’s changed. I’m going to go to work as usual and do my thing.”
If anyone on the Tigers would know about Qualls, it’s Ausmus, who caught Qualls in Houston from 2004 to 2007. If there’s a deal brewing, however, it’s news to Ausmus.
“Waiver claims this time of year, they don’t really mean anything,” Ausmus said. “I know there’s been a lot said about it, but there’s really nothing that I know about, quite frankly, other than what I’ve read.
Said Qualls: “I’m sure he wants me. I think around the Trade Deadline there were some other guys that were getting traded and I was just messing around and he’s like, ‘Well, if you would have just signed here in the first place, we wouldn’t have to trade for anybody.’ Just typical Brad Ausmus. Like I said before, I want to stay here and be a Houston Astro until I retire.”
The 36-year-old Qualls is 14-for-17 in save chances in Houston to go with a 3.07 ERA, 46 hits and 38 strikeouts over 44 innings. He has walked just five batters this season, and two were intentional. The 11-year Major League veteran has been used to protect leads anywhere from the seventh to ninth innings, much like the role the Tigers had for Soria.
The Tigers were gone on the road for a week. It only seemed by the crowd reaction that they’d been gone longer.
It was long enough for Tigers fans and Joe Nathan, two sides who seemed irreparably distanced last homestand, to begin this three-game homestand supporting one another.
“Good feeling to know we’re on the right track to hopefully mending and erasing a mistake that I made,” Nathan said after retiring the Yankees in order in the ninth inning Tuesday night for his 28th save. “Hopefully it means that we’re putting this thing behind us and now we can concentrate on a very difficult task in trying to win this division and get to the playoffs. Very good feeling to hear that. Now we’ve got to, I think, do what these fans want to see and that’s at the end of game 162, have a chance to play further.”
Yes, that was a segment of the Comerica Park crowd behind home plate chanting for Joe Nathan at the start of the ninth inning, and again with each hitter; chanting, “Let’s Go Joe.”
Yes, that was Nathan retiring the side in order as it went along, starting with a three-pitch strikeout, which no doubt helped the reception.
“I did hear them,” Nathan said. “I actually for a second sat there and kind of enjoyed it. Then told myself, ‘All right, make it white noise and get back to work, concentrate on a tough hitter in Beltran.’ Fortunately I was able to get him and kind of settle into the inning from there.”
It did not sound like something he expected after boos for most of the summer. Then again,
Said manager Brad Ausmus: “It’d really be a great side story if Joe could run the gamut here the last 30 or so games and endear himself to the Tigers fans again. The one incident that happened it was obviously a mistake and he’s already talked to the media about that. He has apologized. He wants to perform. He wants to do well and I’m sure he was a lot happier with the cheers than the boos, like any player would be.”
Much like the Jimmy Buffett concert last month, center field took some damage from the Eminem/Rihanna concerts last weekend. Like last month, it should recover, but it’s looking a little rough out there. Add in the water from storms that rolled through a couple hours before gametime, and it could be a little messy out there. It’s the domain of Rajai Davis tonight.
As expected, Miguel Cabrera returns to the lineup, playing first base.
TIGERS (career numbers off Brandon McCarthy)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-for-21, double, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
- Torii Hunter, RF (8-for-19, 3 doubles, HR, walk, 5 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (4-for-15, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (9-for-24, 5 doubles, HR, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
- J.D. Martinez, LF (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- Alex Avila, C (2-for-13, 3 K’s)
- Eugenio Suarez, SS (0-for-2, K)
- Rajai Davis, CF (2-for-8, 2 doubles, walk, 2 K’s)
P: Rick Porcello
YANKEES (career numbers vs. Porcello)
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (8-for-13, double, 2 HR, walk)
- Derek Jeter, DH (2-for-18, double, K)
- Brian McCann, C
- Mark Teixeira, 1B (4-for-18, walk, K)
- Carlos Beltran, RF (4-for-8, walk, K)
- Martin Prado, 2B (2-for-7)
- Stephen Drew, SS (2-for-7, double, HR, 2 walks, K)
- Chase Headley, 3B (3-for-6, double, HR)
- Ichiro Suzuki, RF (11-for-28, 2 doubles, 4 K’s)
P: Brandon McCarthy
The Tigers might have one more trade for bullpen help in them yet. Oddly enough, they can thank their recent fall out of the AL Central and Wild Card leads in part for getting in a last-minute waiver claim on Astros closer Chad Qualls.
Peter Gammons of MLB Network first reported that the Tigers had the primary claim on Qualls, who was a last-minute placement on the waiver wire after the Astros held onto him at the July 31 non-waiver deadline. That followed Ken Rosenthal’s report Monday evening that Qualls had been claimed on revocable waivers.
Under terms of revocable waivers, the Astros have 48 hours (thus, until Wednesday) to work out a trade, pull him back off waivers, or let him go on waivers.
At this point, it’s too early to tell whether the two teams, who put together a trade for then-Astros closer Jose Veras last summer, can work something out on Qualls. The Tigers were interested in Qualls last month before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, but the Astros were reticent to deal. Detroit put together a trade with the Rangers for Joakim Soria instead.
One potential factor is the sentiment of Qualls, who does not have veto power but has said more than once that he wants to remain an Astro. Qualls signed a two-year, $5.95 million deal last December to return to his original organization, spurning interest from the Tigers among other teams.
Qualls’ contract is very manageable, having joined Houston on a two-year deal worth $5.95 million with a $3.5 million club option for 2016. He has said repeatedly, including last night, that he wants to remain in Houston, though he doesn’t have a say in it.
“I’ve been traded a bunch of times in my career and it’s no different,” Qualls told Houston reporters, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “I chose Houston because it’s close to home and I want to help this team win and I feel like I’ve been doing the best I can this year.
“Like I said all year, I’d like to stay here this year and obviously beyond that and finish my career as an Astro. It’s not in my hands, though, so I don’t really put too much thought into it.”
The Tigers were able to acquire the Astros’ last closer, Jose Veras, last summer for outfielder Danry Vasquez and pitcher David Paulino. With Qualls’ contract, however, the Astros will probably seek more advanced prospects. Houston had a pro scout in Reading, Pa., while Double-A Erie was in town this past weekend.
It’s more likely the Astros pull him off waivers than trade him, according to McTaggart.
Soria was in the Tigers bullpen for about two weeks before a left oblique strain landed him on the 15-day disabled list. He’s throwing off flat ground and is “trending upward” towards a return, according to manager Brad Ausmus, but still has to throw off a mound. His return is on the horizon, but not imminent.
The Tigers tried to fill part of the void last week with former Orioles/A’s closer Jim Johnson, who earned a win at Tampa Bay with a scoreless 10th inning despite walking two Rays, but then gave up four runs in a nine-run sixth inning in Friday’s 20-6 loss to the Twins. Johnson came back Sunday and retired all five batters he faced, his longest perfect outing since April 11 with Oakland.
The 36-year-old Qualls is 14-for-17 in save chances in Houston to go with a 3.07 ERA, 46 hits and 38 strikeouts over 44 innings. He has walked just five batters this season, and two were intentional. His 11-year-old Major League history has seen him protect leads anywhere from the seventh to ninth innings, much like the role the Tigers had for Soria.
Just because the Tigers made the first claim doesn’t mean they’ll be able to pull off a deal. The Astros were more willing to trade a young starter than their veteran reliever before the non-waiver deadline, and they’re still trying to win games down the stretch to demonstrate progress. Houston needs eight wins in its last 30 games to avoid 100 losses for the first time since 2010, and their near.500 record over the last month or two suggests an outside shot to avoid 90 losses.
While the Tampa Bay Rays await word from Major League Baseball on their protest of a late replay challenge Saturday from Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, the Tigers are expected to be interested observers. Manager Brad Ausmus, in particular, will be curious to see how this is ruled.
On Sunday morning, he hadn’t seen the play in question, when Gibbons came out to challenge a pickoff call after his pitcher, Mark Buehrle, was back on the rubber and Yunel Escobar was in the batters box. But Ausmus was aware of it.
“I read the story, which when it happened with us in Anaheim, it was the exact same thing really,” Ausmus said.
That, too, was a pickoff play — with Matt Shoemaker trying to pick off Eugenio Suarez at first. Suarez was initially ruled safe, Shoemaker returned to the mound, Mike Scioscia emerged from the dugout to challenge, and Ausmus was out of his dugout as soon as Scioscia came out.
“I was watching the batters and the pitcher, and I understand what Brad was thinking,” crew chief Jim Joyce said at the time. “But to tell me I can’t do it is not what the rule is. So I just informed him that it’s at my discretion. It’s at the crew chief’s discretion.
“I just knew it was really, really a close play. And if he’s going to come out and ask me to review it, I’m going to review it. The whole entire deal is to get it right. So I kept informing him that, at my discretion, that I can review it. I tried to impress that upon, and we got to where we were.”
Ausmus argued unsuccessfully to try to stop the review. He came back out as soon as Suarez was ruled out on review, which got Ausmus ejected.
So why didn’t Ausmus protest like Maddon did?
“I wanted to protest,” Ausmus said Sunday, “and the umpire [Joyce] told me I couldn’t protest, that it was not something that could be protested.”
Ausmus said he has not been given an official clarification on the rule since. MLB executive vice president of on-field operations Joe Torre was in Cooperstown at the time of the incident for Hall of Fame weekend.
“I never actually talked to Joe about the rule,” said Ausmus. “I wasn’t given anything official in terms of whether I was right or wrong. I know there was a lot of discussion in New York about it, though.”
Given the Rays challenge, there’s probably more discussion going on in New York.