June 15th, 2011

Wednesday: Tigers vs. Indians

Maggio replaces Dirks in the sixth spot against Carmona, whose lefty-righty splits aren’t nearly as big as those of Justin Masterson. Jhonny Peralta returns to short, while Ramon Santiago shuffles over to second base.

Interesting comments from Jim Leyland today on Ryan Raburn, whose struggles have seemingly taken him from starting second baseman status to a platoon partner with Santiago. He talked about Raburn with a hint that the Tigers’ patience may be running low.

“I think you just ride it out until you make some kind of decision — play him more, play him less, whatever,” Leyland said. “I mean, we hit extra, we do all the things that everybody else does, so there’s no secret formula for it. Just keep working at it and hope he catches fire. If he doesn’t, you play somebody else.

“What I’ve seen up to now, I’ve seen some [signs] where you get pretty optimistic, and then you have a setback. It’s like the old two steps forward, one back once in a while, it seems like. But he hasn’t been taking that many steps forward, quite truthfully. Hopefully he will.”

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Don Kelly, 3B
  3. Brennan Boesch, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

P: Brad Penny

INDIANS

  1. Grady Sizemore, CF
  2. Carlos Santana, 1B
  3. Michael Brantley, LF
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  5. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  6. Matt LaPorta, DH
  7. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
  8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
  9. Lou Marson, C

P: Fausto Carmona

For Verlander, third no-hitter looks more when than if

Ok, be honest: How many of you at this point believe Justin Verlander won’t throw another no-hitter this season?

The more outings he pitches like Tuesday, the more the expectation builds. At the same time, the longer he goes without another one, the more anticipation builds that his next outing might be the one.

Now that Verlander has again looked like he had no-hit stuff, his outings are shaping up to be a very interesting part of summer.

Verlander was asked whether he expects to throw another one.

“The way I’ve been answering questions, I would have to say yeah,” Verlander said. “But this is a funny game. You look at some of the pitchers that have come through the Major Leagues, some of the outstanding Hall of Fame pitchers that have never thrown a no-hitter. There’s a lot of things that have to go in your favor. You have to get lucky. I would like to say I’m able to, but things have to be on my side.”

Alex Avila wasn’t as sure as his teammates that Verlander was going to pitch a no-hitter Tuesday. But short of outrighting saying it, Avila sounded quite confident Tuesday.

“He’s got the stuff,” Avila said. “He’s got the preparation that goes into his starts. It’s all there. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he’s been close so many times this year.”

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