August 10th, 2011

Wednesday: Tigers at Indians

Alex Avila said after Tuesday’s marathon that he’d be ready to catch again on Wednesday, and manager Jim Leyland is taking him at his word. Given that the alternative is to catch Victor Martinez coming off his knee sprain, there’s a lot of reason for Leyland to do it.

Some other shuffling going on nonetheless. Austin Jackson gets a day off, with Andy Dirks batting leadoff. Carlos Guillen and Jhonny Peralta both get the day off, replaced by Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago. Wilson Betemit is back at third base for the first time since last Friday at Kansas City.

TIGERS

  1. Andy Dirks, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, LF
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Ryan Raburn, 2B
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Wilson Betemit, 3B
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS

P: Rick Porcello

INDIANS

  1. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
  2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  4. Travis Hafner, DH
  5. Carlos Santana, 1B
  6. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
  7. Shelley Duncan, LF
  8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  9. Lou Marson, C

P: Ubaldo Jimenez

Purcey outrighted to Tolddo

The Tigers announced Wednesday that lefty reliever David Purcey cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Toledo, where he’ll presumably work with pitching coach A.J. Sager on his command issues.

Purcey was designated for assignment eight days ago to open a roster spot for David Pauley. Since the Blue Jays used up the options on their former first pick before this season, he couldn’t be optioned. But once he cleared waivers, he couldn’t decline an assignment.

If the Mud Hens can get Purcey right, it would not be a surprise if Purcey rejoins the Tigers when rosters expand Sept. 1.

After 14 innings, what’s next for Tigers

The challenge when a team loses a game like this is usually mental and physical. Mentally, the Tigers seemed to be handling it fine. It was a lost opportunity to gain another game on their AL Central lead, for sure, but they weren’t terribly worried.

“It was a heckuva game, a terrific game,” Jim Leyland said.

Said Daniel Schlereth: We came out on the losing end tonight, but you know what, that’s baseball. That happens. We’re going to sleep on this and get rid of this game. We’ll be back here ready to win tomorrow — er, I’m sorry, later on today.”

Then there’s the physical toll, which make take a little longer to determine.

With Victor Martinez’s knee uncertain for catching duties, Alex Avila caught all 14 innings Tuesday. He said he’ll be ready for Wednesday’s game like it was any other.

“I’m pretty tired,” he said, “but I’ll be ready to go.”

Leyland wasn’t quite so sure.

“That’s one I’ll have to think about,” he said. “That’s a tough one.”

His bullpen might be another issue. The only reliever who wasn’t used was closer Jose Valverde, and he can’t exactly be an innings-eater. Everyone else pitched at least four outs except for David Pauley, who took the loss in the 14th.

The good news for the Tigers is that they have Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander pitching the next two games, so they’re not expecting heavy use out of their bullpen. But even if Porcello gives them seven strong innings, they’re going to have to find someone to pitch the eighth, and he likely won’t be a fresh arm.

Considering it was around 2 in the morning, Leyland wanted to sleep on it before deciding anything. He’ll have to sleep fast, even with a night game Wednesday.

We came out on the losing end tonight, but you know what, that’s baseball. That happens. We’re going to sleep on this and get rid of this game. We’ll be back here ready to win tomorrow — er, I’m sorry, later on today.”

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