Sunday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Indians
The Tigers’ two-three lineup combination of Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera broke up Sunday, if only for the afternoon. Manager Brad Ausmus gave both of them a game off, hoping a day to relax will help them shake their early-season struggles.
It’s not something he welcomed doing. With both of them seemingly fighting their own swings and plate judgments trying to spark an anemic Tigers offense, Ausmus took the chance.
“You don’t ever want to do it,” Ausmus said. “Certainly fans want to see Miggy play at Comerica Park, and I don’t blame them. But sometimes I think it’s best to give guys a breather when you think they need one, and I felt like they both could use a day. Pretty good chance it’ll never happen on the same day again the rest of the season, but I’d like them to kind of relax today, refresh their mind, reset, come back tomorrow and go at it again.”
Upton entered Sunday leading the Majors with twice as many strikeouts (30) as hits (15), batting .217 with four doubles, a home run and three RBIs. His three-strikeout game Saturday made him the first Tiger to reach 30 by the end of April since Austin Jackson and Ryan Raburn five years ago.
Ausmus installed Upton in the second spot in Detroit’s batting order shortly after he signed as a free agent January, expecting him to benefit from seeing more strikes batting in front of the formidable Cabrera. While Upton has suffered from swings and misses, Cabrera has had his own struggles, batting .210 (13-for-62) with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. He said Friday his timing is off with his swing, much like a similarly slow April two years ago.
“Sometimes in baseball, you can beat yourself up so much when you’re struggling, it’s best to take a step back,” Ausmus said, “even if it’s just 24 hours.”
With Upton out, Jose Iglesias gets a chance in the second spot. Ausmus opted to keep Saltalamacchia behind the plate and start Andrew Romine at first base, while Mike Aviles gets a spot start in left field, a role he was lined up for before the Tigers signed Upton.
TIGERS (career numbers off Carlos Carrasco)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (7-for-25, 3 doubles, walk, 5 K’s)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (3-for-7, walk, 3 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (6-for-21, 2 doubles, walk)
- J.D. Martinez, RF (6-for-18, 2 doubles, 2 HR, walk, 2 K’s)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (4-for-14, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
- Mike Aviles, LF (3-for-9, double, HR, K)
- Andrew Romine, 1B (1-for-4, double)
- Anthony Gose, CF (0-for-2, K)
P: Shane Greene
INDIANS (career numbers against Greene)
- Carlos Santana, 1B (1-for-5, double, walk, K)
- Jason Kipnis, 2B (2-for-6)
- Francisco Lindor, SS
- Mike Napoli, DH (2-for-3, double, HR, 4 walks)
- Jose Ramirez, LF (1-for-1)
- Marlon Byrd, RF
- Juan Uribe, 3B
- Tyler Naquin, CF
- Roberto Perez, C (0-for-1)
P: Carlos Carrasco