April 3rd, 2014

Tigers-Royals postponed, Sanchez pushed to Friday

As expected, the cold, rainy forecast across Michigan this afternoon led to an early postponement of today’s Tigers-Royals finale at Comerica Park. The game will be made up with a 1:08 contest on Thursday, June 19, tacked onto the end of the Royals’ next trip into town. It was an off day for both teams, and neither would be playing 21 days in a row.

As for the Tigers rotation, Anibal Sanchez — who hasn’t faced Major League hitters in a game setting since March 12 — has been bumped to Friday’s series opener against the Orioles. Rick Porcello moves back to Saturday, while Justin Verlander stays on turn Sunday. That means Drew Smyly’s spot will be skipped, which makes sense given Brad Ausmus’ previous statements on watching Smyly’s innings. With three off-days in an eight-day span starting next week, the Tigers could go without a fifth starter until April 19 and pitch Smyly in relief until then if they wanted.

Game 3: Tigers vs. Royals (weather permitting)

Radar

Neither the radar nor the forecast look promising for baseball today at Comerica Park. It might be an easier decision, though, if the rain arrives before game time rather than during the game. As Brad Ausmus pointed out, it would be easier to push back the rotation and start Anibal Sanchez on Friday than it would be to have a rain delay knock out Sanchez around the third inning and leave the bullpen to cover the rest of the game.

The Tigers and Royals have a common off day June 19, the day after their next series here in Detroit. Playing that day wouldn’t cause either team to play more than 20 days in a row.

Sanchez has been a magnet for bad weather lately. Between Spring Training rainouts, his shoulder scare and a rainout last Saturday at Washington, he hasn’t faced Major League hitters in a game setting since March 12.

“Sanchie’s going to start our next game, whenever that is,” Ausmus said. “I think the bigger concern is we don’t want to be in a situation where Sanchie goes out there, throws two innings and then all of a sudden we get rained out. For us, that would be the worst-case scenario.”

At the same time, Ausmus said, Justin Verlander will not be shifted from his next starting assignment Sunday against the Orioles. That means Rick Porcello or, more likely, Drew Smyly would be skipped in the rotation this weekend. Considering they’re already keeping an eye on Smyly’s innings, skipping him might make more sense.

If this game does get played, Andrew Romine is scheduled to make his first start at shortstop, which Ausmus said is mainly intended to give 37-year-old Alex Gonzalez a day off, rather than a matchup play. That would leave Don Kelly and Bryan Holaday as the two Tigers yet to play in a game, and Ausmus said he’d like to get both in a game before they head to the West Coast next week for Interleague Play.

TIGERS

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Torii Hunter, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Austin Jackson, CF
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Andrew Romine, SS
  9. Rajai Davis, LF

P: Anibal Sanchez

ROYALS (career numbers off Sanchez)

  1. Norichika Aoki, RF
  2. Omar Infante, 2B (3-for-18, walk, 3 K’s)
  3. Eric Hosmer, 1B (3-for-16, K)
  4. Billy Butler, DH (4-for-15, walk, 3 K’s)
  5. Alex Gordon, LF (5-for-15, walk, 3 K’s)
  6. Salvador Perez, C (0-for-9, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  7. Mike Moustakas, 3B (1-for-10, double, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  8. Lorenzo Cain, CF (3-for-10)
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS (4-for-15, 3 K’s)

P: Yordano Ventura

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