May 6th, 2014

Tuesday’s lineup: Tigers vs. Astros

To a limited degree, the lefty lineup is back in effect against Astros southpaw Brett Oberholtzer, who’s giving up a .324 average and .922 OPS to right-handed hitters compared with .241 and .611 to lefties. The two exceptions are in left field, where Rajai Davis gets the night off, and at catcher, where Alex Avila catches once again.

With Davis out, J.D. Martinez will make the start against the team that released him six weeks ago. That also means that Ian Kinsler leads off and Torii Hunter bats second. Martinez will bat fifth, just behind the other Martinez.

TIGERS

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-4, double vs. Oberholtzer)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF
  6. Austin Jackson, CF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Danny Worth, SS

P: Robbie Ray

ASTROS

  1. Jose Altuve, 2B
  2. Dexter Fowler, CF
  3. Jason Castro, C
  4. Chris Carter, DH
  5. Jesus Guzman, 1B
  6. George Springer, RF
  7. Matt Dominguez, 3B
  8. L.J. Hoes, LF
  9. Jonathan Villar, SS

P: Brett Oberholtzer

 

Ortega optioned, Lennerton outrighted

If you were expecting a major move from the Tigers to make room for Robbie Ray, it wasn’t going to happen.

Jose Ortega hadn’t pitched in a game since the Tigers’ last loss. That was a week and a half ago, when he walked four of the nine Minnesota Twins he faced and hit one of the other five. He had been rumored to be headed back to Triple-A Toledo immediately after that outing, until Anibal Sanchez landed on the 15-day DL.

Thus, when it came time for the Tigers to send down a reliever to make room for Ray, Ortega was the choice to create a spot on the 25-man roster.

As for fitting Ray on the 40-man roster, the Tigers used the opportunity to get Jordan Lennerton through waivers while he was off to a miserable start at Triple-A Toledo and outright his contract to the Mud Hens. It comes less than three months after he was experiencing the thrill of his first Major League camp at age 27.

He made an impression in camp, though he was one of the earlier roster moves. He has struggled ever since, batting .165 (15-for-91) with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs. His on-base percentage and OPS are boosted by 23 walks, but he has also struck out 28 times.

Though speculation around town centered on Phil Coke, that wasn’t happening. Beyond weighing Coke’s potential against Ortega, such a move would have required the Tigers to weigh the downside of having only one left-handed reliever amidst a stretch in which the Tigers face key left-handed hitters on the Twins this weekend (Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel), the Orioles next week (Nick Markakis, though probably not Chris Davis) and the Red Sox next weekend (David Ortiz, Mike Carp, A.J. Pierzynski). That’s not to say Coke would be the primary option, but it means there’s a value to two left-handers, even when one is struggling. If Coke were to be dropped, it would appear more likely to involve bringing another lefty reliever up, not make room for a right-hander or a starter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,320 other followers