August 6th, 2011

Saturday: Tigers at Royals

TIGERS

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

P: Justin Verlander

ROYALS

  1. Alex Gordon, LF
  2. Melky Cabrera, CF
  3. Billy Butler, DH
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  6. Johnny Giavotella, 2B
  7. Brayan Pena, C
  8. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS

P: Danny Duffy

Verlander, Porcello will pitch in Cleveland

The pitching assignments are out for next week’s series at Cleveland, and as many figured, Justin Verlander will start Thursday’s finale on four days rest. Rick Porcello is being moved up, too, and will start Wednesday on his normal rest. Doug Fister starts Tuesday’s series opener as planned.

That means Brad Penny will be pushed back a day or two and start next weekend in Baltimore, either Friday or Saturday. Max Scherzer will have the other one, with Fister starting on Sunday.

Leyland defends lineups, lefties

With the way the Tigers rallied back to win Friday night, it was almost an afterthought when manager Jim Leyland brought up the question about his lineup usage. But the fact that Alex Avila homered for the third time in his last three games became a reference point for him, so he had admittedly overused him for a stretch this year.

“You lose when you have your regulars in there, too,” Leyland said. “That’s what a lot of times, people don’t understand. They think when you don’t play your regulars, you lose, but if you play your regulars every day, you win. It doesn’t work that way. You lose no matter who you play sometimes up here.

“I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying I’m going to have to watch [Avila], but I think he’s freshened up a little bit. But like I said, it’s my fault, because I played him into the ground prior to the [All-Star] break.”

That was a longer-term decision. The short-term decision he made Friday concerned when to get Rick Porcello out of the game. When Royals rookie third baseman Mike Moustakas came up with a 3-for-42 mark against left-handed pitchers this year, that was his time.

“I feel bad for Rick,” Leyland said. “He deserved a win tonight. He pitched tremendous. But that’s the way it goes. We got the win, and that’s the most important thing. But I did feel bad for him. …

“They had a little momentum going. The stage was set. But I chose to go to the left-hander because the young kid’s hitting .071 against left-handed pitching. Didn’t work. Wasn’t very smart. But I’d do it again if they get the momentum going like that. Late in games, when a team gets momentum going, the guy’s later into the game, even though [Porcello's] pitch count was fantastic.”

The numbers were impossible to ignore. The downfall was that Phil Coke made what Leyland called a “terrible” pitch, a two-strike curveball that Moustakas was able to pull inside first base and produce an RBI single.

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