September 4th, 2013

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Red Sox

Boston 004

Not much information on Miguel Cabrera, but suffice to say something acted up in his groin/abdominal injury.

“Sore today. That’s all I can tell you,” Leyland said. “I can’t tell you when he’s gonna play.”

Just like the last time Cabrera sat, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez move up in the lineup in his absence. Don Kelly gets the start at third base.

The Tabbies don’t have a whole lot of history against Ryan Dempster, given most of his career took place in the National League. Still, Fielder has some success against him, and Hunter has hit him well in limited at-bats.

The Red Sox regain the services of Jacoby Ellsbury just in time to get him back in the lineup against Rick Porcello, who has retired him only once in eight tries.

TIGERS (career numbers off Ryan Dempster)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-9, K)
  3. Prince Fielder, 1B (11-for-43, 3 HR, 8 walks)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (2-for-4)
  5. Andy Dirks, LF
  6. Don Kelly, 3B (
  7. Omar Infante, 2B (3-for-13, HR, 2 K’s)
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Rick Porcello

RED SOX (career numbers off Porcello)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (6-for-7, HR, walk)
  2. Shane Victorino, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (2-for-8, walk, K)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (1-for-4, K)
  5. Daniel Nava, LF
  6. Mike Napoli, 1B (4-for-13, walk, 5 K’s)
  7. Stephen Drew, SS (0-for-3)
  8. David Ross, C
  9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B (1-for-3)

P: Ryan Dempster

Infante changes agents heading into free agency

Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante were teammates in Miami before they came over to Detroit last summer, and they’ve been friends for a while. Now, they are both clients of the same agent, with Infante switching his representation to Gene Mato. Credit Jon Morosi of with the report last night on twitter, since confirmed on both sides.

Infante had been represented by Octagon and agent Alan Nero for most of his career before switching over earlier this summer. It’s not uncommon anymore for players to switch agents before going into free agency — Jose Valverde jumped to Scott Boras last year, and Carlos Guillen went to Octagon and Scott Pucino in his final season in Detroit. It doesn’t have a huge impact on the Tigers because they’ve had dealings with all those guys, but it’s a big move for Infante because Mato is coming off a lucrative deal he negotiated for Sanchez with the Tigers last year.

Infante is finishing up a 2-year, $8 million he signed to stick with the Marlins after the 2011 season. He’ll turn 32 years old in December, but depending on what happens with Robinson Cano, he could be set up to become one of the top middle infielders on the free-agent market this winter, which could make things interesting for the Tigers. While Hernan Perez seems to be in line as Detroit’s second baseman of the future, I’m not sure that future is as immediate as next season. Defensively, he’s ready, but Infante’s offense could be a huge factor for the Tigers to weigh.

Game 139: Picking apart Pena’s play at plate

Jim Leyland cited a philosophy in defending third-base coach Tom Brookens and his second-inning call to wave Brayan Pena home on Jose Iglesias’ double.

“I’d have sent him too,” Leyland said. “I thought that was a great call. To me, when the ball gets by the outfielder like that, make them make two good relays. You know he’s dead by 10-15 feet if they make them. They made them. … With two outs, I have absolutely no problem with that call.”

The fact that there are two outs there, he said, changes the aggressive.

“One out or no outs, I’d have had a problem,” Leyland said. “But with two outs, a ball gets by the outfielder like that, make them make two good throws. And they did. You tip your cap to them. Pena ran out of gas a little bit at the end, and Tommy knows that. I think he was a little bit mad at himself, but I told him good call.”

Brookens appreciated the support,but the fact that the play wasn’t close was what had him second-guessing himself after the game.

“My take on it is be very aggressive with two outs, but yet if you’re out, I want it to be a little closer than it was,” Brookens said. “That’s really about it. He was just out too far for the way I like to approach things. If he’s out on a fairly close play, then I’ll always feel like you made a good call. But when they’re out by quite frankly that much, then you probably made the wrong call. And I wish I’d held him up now.”

The idea of testing a defense to make two good relays, of course, is balanced by the runner testing them. Pena runs hard for a catcher his size, but he’s running hard trying to score from first base.

“It’s on me,” Brookens said. “I didn’t make a very good call on that one, quite honestly, no two ways about it. I wish it would’ve been closer and maybe it could’ve worked out on a bad relay, but it didn’t.”

The two-out situation, obviously, makes it look like an early opportunity thwarted with Austin Jackson due up following his leadoff double in the opening inning. Once Lester came back out for the third and struck out Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera in order, it appeared Lester had recovered between innings. It loomed much larger, obviously, by game’s end.