April 28th, 2011

Thursday: Tigers vs. Mariners

A day after the Tigers had four errors in the infield, manager Jim Leyland gave the left side the day to get some rest. Ramon Santiago gets the start at shortstop, with Don Kelly at third base. The moves also get two extra left-handed bats in the lineup against Michael Pineda, the Mariners’ stingy right-handed rookie.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ramon Santiago, SS
  3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Brennan Boesch, RF
  6. Ryan Raburn, LF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Don Kelly, 3B
  9. Will Rhymes, 2B
P: Brad Penny
  1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
  2. Chone Figgins, 3B
  3. Milton Bradley, LF
  4. Miguel Olivo, C
  5. Justin Smoak, 1B
  6. Adam Kennedy, DH
  7. Luis Rodriguez, SS
  8. Michael Saunders, CF
  9. Jack Wilson, 2B
P: Michael Pineda

Avila: “We’re way too talented to be playing like this”

One of the things that has been emphasized in the Tigers clubhouse this year is a steady approach — no panic, no overconfidence, but a day-in, day-out approach. That comes from the players. And to be clear, they’re not panicking now over back-to-back losses. But among the players who were around the clubhouse after Tuesday’s loss to Erik Bedard and the M’s, dropping the Tigers back to the .500 mark on the year, you could sense some frustration.

That springboard that sweeping the White Sox might have been hoped to provide is pretty well gone. And while the standings don’t mean much in April, it’s looking less likely that they’ll head into Cleveland this weekend with a chance to vault into first place.

More important to the Tigers, they haven’t played good baseball the last couple days. And that’s clearly bothering Alex Avila.

“It is a little frustrating,” Avila said, “because we’re just way too talented to be playing .500 baseball right now. We need to figure it out, and kind of get things rolling. We show flashes of that, and then we take a couple of steps back. As the season goes on, as we can figure things out and kind of gel as a team, then hopefully we can kind of get on a roll, because we’re way too talented to be playing like this.”

When asked about the hitting of Miguel Olivo, who entered the series batting .164 but has suddenly raked in the cleanup spot the last two nights, Avila talked more in general.

“It seems like the entire Mariners team has our number, not just Olivo,” Avila said. “As a team, the numbers coming in, you see they haven’t been swinging well as a team. And then they play us, and they swing the bats great. We’ve just got to figure out a way to get them out.”