April 15th, 2014

Tigers-Indians postponed (updated with starters)

The wintry weather system that put metro Detroit over the top for its snowiest season on record put a stop to the latest AL Central clash between the Tigers and Indians. Tuesday night’s series opener at Comerica Park was postponed due to inclement weather.

No makeup date was announced Tuesday, but it won’t be made up this series, which will now be a two-game set with games Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. The Indians return to town after the All-Star break for a three-game series July 18-20 and another three-game set Sept. 12-14. Both teams have two days off after the All-Star break.

Tickets for Tuesday’s game will be honored for the makeup date, which no ticket exchange necessary.

Anibal Sanchez, who was scheduled for Tuesday, will instead start Wednesday night’s game. Justin Verlander remains on schedule to start Thursday’s series finale. That means Drew Smyly, Wednesday’s previously scheduled start, will be pushed back by a weather postponement for the second time in two weeks.

Smyly, Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer will start against the Angels this weekend, but the order is unknown. Manager Brad Ausmus said over the weekend that he wanted to separate Smyly and Porcello in the rotation order, so it’s unlikely they’ll pitch back to back. That means one will probably pitch Friday, the other on Sunday, with Scherzer pitching on Saturday.

The Indians, meanwhile, are keeping their rotation order, with their starters simply pushed back. Zach McAllister, who had been scheduled to start Tuesday, will start opposite Sanchez on Wednesday. Danny Salazar is now scheduled to start Thursday opposite Verlander.

Tigers players and coaches had been looking at Tuesday’s game with unease since last weekend, when they were still basking in the warmth of the West Coast. A storm system of cold and snow lived up to forecasts, dropping 2-3 inches of snow across the area overnight and covering the field at Comerica Park.

The bigger concern, however, might have been the temperatures, which barely crept above freezing during the day. The hourly forecast from weather.com called for temperatures in Detroit around 33 degrees at first pitch with a wind chill of 22, dropping further as the night went along.

Tuesday was the first scheduled night game of the season at Comerica Park. The Tigers opened the season at home with five afternoon games. They lost a game from that homestand, too, to a postponement, with rain washing out an April 3 game against the Royals. That game will be made up June 19.

Between two postponed games and four scheduled off-days, the Tigers have played just 10 games in 16 days since the season began. They haven’t needed a fifth starter, which has left Drew Smyly pitching out of the bullpen. Smyly was scheduled to make his first start of the season Wednesday.