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Scherzer: Not the same numbers, but a better pitcher this year

There are scenarios for the Tigers in which last night’s outing could go down as Max Scherzer’s last start at Comerica Park as a Tiger. If Scherzer ends up opening for the Tigers in a Division Series, he’d pitch Game 1 and a potential Game 5, both on the road. If the Tigers didn’t advance, he’d then go into free agency. There’s another scenario in which the Tigers need Scherzer to save them from collapse in the Wild Card game.

“These starts matter,” Scherzer said after he turned a night of command struggles and a high pitch count into six innings of two-run ball. “Where I’m at now and executing pitches, it matters, and now I need to fine-tune more, because every pitch in the playoffs is crucial. It’s so huge, and so obviously we’re in [the playoffs] in some capacity, so whatever game I do get into, I just know you have to be at your best. You have to bring your A-game. There is no other way to script it, because the moment you give these guys an inch, they hit it a mile. It only counts even more in the playoffs.”

Either way, the regular-season portion of his Follow-Up Season is over. And after he ended it with his 18th win of this year, and his 39th win over the last two seasons, he was good with what he posted.

He said in the spring that he could pitch better than last year and not have the same results. He wasn’t far off statistically. From a pure pitching standpoint, he feels like he’s better.

“I really do, because I feel like I’m executing pitches at a higher level than I was, say, last year,” Scherzer said. “Last year I was very consistent, and that’s something that’s so hard to strive for. In my eyes I wasn’t quite as consistent this year as I was last year. I had a few more ups and downs this year. But overall, I still did a heckuva job this year. In some ways I pitched from a numbers perspective pretty much the same. But from a pitching standpoint, I’m able to execute pitches at a higher level. I have a much more consistent curveball, and that allows me to really pitch with four pitches.

“As I keep going, that’s what you strive for, is to always find ways to keep getting better and execute pitches in new ways, because you know the rest of the league’s keying on you to try to figure you out and try to figure out ways to get hits off you. You have to come up with ways to keep getting better, and that’s what I’m proud of. Even after an unbelievable year last year, I still found a way to get better this year.”

He’s said it before many times, and he said it again Thursday, that you either get better or worse, and it’s impossible to stay the same pitcher.

“For me,” Scherzer said, “I can look back on 2014 — at least in the regular season now — and say, ‘OK, maybe I didn’t have quite the numbers as I was able to put up last year, but some things I did do better at this year. But overall, I feel like I’m a better pitcher than I was in 2013.”

Here’s a comparison of the main stats:

Year W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WP ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2013 ★ 21 3 .875 2.90 32 0 0 214.1 152 73 69 18 56 240 4 6 144 2.74 0.970 6.4 0.8 2.4 10.1 4.29
2014 ★ 18 5 .783 3.19 33 1 1 220.1 196 80 78 18 63 252 6 10 125 2.84 1.175 8.0 0.7 2.6 10.3 4.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/26/2014.

Take away the inconsistencies from one start to the next, and the season numbers look similar. There’s an uptick in strikeouts, but also in walks, resulting in a lower strikeout-to-walk ratio (a huge stat for Scherzer, who has a profound appreciation for what Phil Hughes did with his record ratio).

And here’s a look at some of the ratios:

Year PA HR% SO% BB% XBH% X/H% GB/FB GO/AO IP% LD% HR/FB IF/FB DPopp DPs DP%
2013 836 2.2% 28.7% 6.7% 7.1% 39% 0.60 0.67 62% 19% 6.4% 15% 119 10 8%
2014 904 2.0% 27.9% 7.0% 7.6% 35% 0.60 0.76 62% 22% 5.8% 13% 174 15 9%
7 Yrs 5138 2.6% 25.7% 7.6% 7.7% 35% 0.65 0.83 63% 20% 7.7% 14% 907 79 9%
MLB Averages 2.5% 18.9% 8.3% 7.6% 33% 0.81 1.09 69% 20% 7.5% 13% 11%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/26/2014.

The percentage of plate appearances ending in a strikeout actually went down, even though the strikeouts per nine innings went up. Likewise, though the percentage of plate appearances ending in an extra-base hit went up, extra-base hits comprised a smaller percentage of his hit total.

The most interesting thing for me in the bunch, though, might be the uptick in his ground-ball rate. He’s still a flyball pitcher, but he has able to get more grounders when he needed them, resulting in five more double plays than he had last season. Given his work on becoming more of a four-pitch pitcher, it would not be a surprise if this trend continues, no matter what team he ends up pitching for next year.

Finally, an analysis on his strike percentages and strikeouts:

Year Pit Pit/PA Str% L/Str S/Str F/Str I/Str AS/Str AS/Pit Con 1st% L/SO S/SO L/SO%
2013 3388 4.05 65.9% 28.3% 20.0% 27.7% 24.0% 71.7% 47.2% 72.1% 64.4% 53 187 22.1%
2014 3638 4.01 66.2% 26.9% 19.7% 29.1% 24.2% 73.1% 48.4% 73.0% 63.2% 45 207 17.9%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/26/2014.

He was ever so slightly more efficient than last year, and he threw an incrementally higher percentage of strikes. However, hitters seemed more aggressive, taking fewer strikes and swinging more, evidenced more in the percentage of pitches fouled off.

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

Aside from Alex Avila catching, the Tigers have the same lineup that they had when they faced Trevor May a month ago at Target Field. He gave up five runs on 11 hits that day. Everyone but Rajai Davis ended up with a base hit that day.

The Twins get Joe Mauer back after he left Tuesday’s game against the Diamondbacks with a bruised elbow from a hit-by-pitch. He missed Wednesday’s game, but will take his cuts against Max Scherzer.

TIGERS

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

P: Max Scherzer

TWINS (career numbers against Scherzer)

  1. Danny Santana, SS (4-for-9, 2 doubles, K)
  2. Brian Dozier, 2B (2-for-15, HR, 3 walks, 7 K’s)
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B (9-for-34, HR, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Kennys Vargas, DH (3-for-6, K)
  5. Oswaldo Arcia, RF (3-for-9, double, HR, 5 K’s)
  6. Kurt Suzuki, C (4-for-10, HR, walk, K)
  7. Chris Herrmann, LF (0-for-2, walk, K)
  8. Aaron Hicks, CF (0-for-7, walk, 4 K’s)
  9. Eduardo Escobar, 3B (2-for-10, double, 2 K’s)

P: Trevor May

Tigers clinch fourth straight postseason berth

The Tigers had long since left Comerica Park by the time they became the latest team to clinch a spot in the postseason. They probably wouldn’t have celebrated much if they were around anyway.

They have a Wild Card spot assured as a fallback option, but a fourth consecutive American League Central title on their minds. They still have work to do.

“The goal,” Ausmus said Wednesday afternoon, “is to win the division.”

Detroit’s win over the White Sox Wednesday afternoon put the Tigers on the doorstep of October baseball. Once the Mariners lost at Toronto Wednesday night, their foot was in the door, the Tigers assured of finishing no worse than the second AL Wild Card spot.

“We’re in,” Ian Kinsler said. “We have an opportunity to win a World Series regardless of what happens here on out. But the goal is to win the Central. To have that assurance, to know that you’re going to be in the playoffs, yeah, that’s big. But that’s not the goal right now.

“We still have four games left to try to win the Central, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

They’re a little closer on the division part as well. A Royals loss in Cleveland stretched Detroit’s lead to two games with four to play, and reduced the magic number to three. A Tigers split at home against the Twins would require the Royals to sweep four games against the White Sox in Chicago to force a one-game playoff.

Consider it a milepost on the Tigers’ quest to take care of unfinished business from last year, when they fell to the Red Sox in a dramatic six-game AL Championship Series that still stings for most Tigers fans.

It’s also a record-setter for the Tigers, whose fourth straight playoff berth sets a new franchise mark. Detroit went to three consecutive World Series from 1907 to 1909, losing all three times.

“Everybody wants to make it to the playoffs, obviously,” Verlander said, “but you never want to settle for a wild card, or just squeaking in. You want to win your division. That’s the goal here. I don’t think anybody’s going to be overly excited just squeaking in and securing a wild card spot.

“There’s still four games to play and we’re in first place in our division, and that’s the most important part.”

Asked if they might still celebrate, Verlander smiled.

“I don’t think you’re going to see us go out and celebrate and get hammered,” he said, “and come in tomorrow not ready to play.”

Barring a Royals collapse, whichever team doesn’t win the Central will take one of the two Wild Card berths and play a winner-take-all game next Tuesday on TBS. Oakland currently holds the other AL Wild Card spot.

The A’s loss Wednesday afternoon, meanwhile, put the Tigers two games ahead of Oakland to go with the head-to-head tiebreaker. Barring a dramatic swing, then, the Tigers would have the consolation of at least hosting a Wild Card game if they finished second in the division.

Detroit won five out of seven from Oakland this year.

The AL Central champion will advance to the AL Division Series as the third seed, opening on the road. Most likely, the opponent would be Baltimore, currently owner of the AL’s second-best record. The Tigers went 5-1 against the Orioles this year, including a three-game sweep at Camden Yards in May.

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Andrew Romine has never faced Chris Sale, but for a rare time this season, manager Brad Ausmus is playing off Romine’s switch-hitting success against lefties (17-for-51, three doubles) and giving him a shot. Under most circumstances, it’s a defensive play, but even in his lower-strikeout form Justin Verlander’s not a ground-ball pitcher.

Gameday | TV: MLB Network, FSD | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

TIGERS (career numbers off Sale)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (6-for-21, 2 HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-24, double, triple, HR, walk, 7 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (6-for-27, 2 HR, 6 walks, 8 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (15-for-28, 3 doubles, 3 HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (3-for-13, double, 6 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-8, walk, 5 K’s)
  7. Bryan Holaday, C (1-for-5, 2 K’s)
  8. Andrew Romine, SS
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (4-for-10, double, walk)

P: Justin Verlander

WHITE SOX (2014 numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Adam Eaton, CF (5-for-11, 2 doubles, triple, walk, 3 K’s)
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS (18-for-71, double, HR, 2 walks, 9 K’s)
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B (7-for-12, double, 2 HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  4. Conor Gillaspie, 3B (2-for-11, double, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. Avisail Garcia, RF (1-for-3, double, K)
  6. Dayan Viciedo, DH (6-for-23, double, HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  7. Jordan Danks, LF (1-for-4, K)
  8. Tyler Flowers, C (4-for-18, double, 2 HR, 3 walks, 6 K’s)
  9. Marcus Semien, 2B (2-for-7, 3 K’s)

P: Chris Sale

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Eugenio Suarez (third start in four days) and Rajai Davis return to their respective spots. Other than that, it’s the same Tigers lineup.

The White Sox get quickly emerging Tigers nemesis Adam Eaton back after he missed last night’s game to deal with a family matter.

Gameday | TV: FSD | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

TIGERS (numbers against Scott Carroll)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-3, double)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (1-for-2, double)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (0-for-3)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-3)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (3-for-3, double)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-3)
  7. Alex Avila, C (1-for-3, double, K)
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS (1-for-3, K)
  9. Rajai Davis, CF

P: David Price

WHITE SOX (numbers off Price)

  1. Adam Eaton, CF (3-for-4)
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS (5-for-26, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  3. Jose Abreu, DH (1-for-3, HR)
  4. Avisail Garcia, RF
  5. Dayan Viciedo, LF (2-for-9, double, 3 K’s)
  6. Paul Konerko, 1B (10-for-23, double, 2 HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  7. Marcus Semien, 3B (2-for-4, double, K)
  8. Josh Phegley, C (1-for-4, HR)
  9. Carlos Sanchez, 2B

P: Scott Carroll

Monday’s lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Late lineups tonight, but the Tigers didn’t finalize theirs until less than an hour before first pitch, having received clearance for Alex Avila to return from his concussion. He’s in the starting lineup. So is Ezequiel Carrera, who had all but disappeared from the Tigers depth chart after his dive and miss last week but who had a three-hit game when the Tigers faced White Sox rookie Chris Bassitt at Chicago Aug. 30.

Thus, Carrera makes his first start since Labor Day three weeks ago.

TIGERS

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

P: Kyle Lobstein

WHITE SOX

  1. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  2. Marcus Semien, 3B
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B
  4. Avisail Garcia, RF
  5. Dayan Viciedo, LF
  6. Paul Konerko, DH
  7. Carlos Sanchez, 2B
  8. Tyler Flowers, C
  9. Moises Sierra, CF

P: Chris Bassitt

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

KC 001

Miguel Cabrera was originally slated to play first base, but was switched to designated hitter to ward off some soreness in the ankle. Andrew Romine returns to the lineup for defensive purposes with ground-ball pitcher Rick Porcello on the mound. Bryan Holaday gets a second straight start behind the plate, but with Alex Avila hitting in Sanchez’s sim game Sunday and taking batting practice beyond that, it’s conceivable that Avila could return to the lineup Monday night against the White Sox.

The Royals return Billy Butler to the DH slot over Josh Willingham (who’s 9-for-24 with five extra-base hits lifetime against Rick Porcello, but who’s slumping) and move Alex Gordon down to the sixth spot in the order. Eric Hosmer bats cleanup.

TIGERS (career numbers off Jeremy Guthrie)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (13-for-39, 2 doubles, triple, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (16-for-46, 3 doubles, HR, 3 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (16-for-47, double, 3 HR, 6 walks, 8 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (11-for-32, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (4-for-15, double, 2 HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (4-for-7, 2 doubles, K)
  7. Bryan Holaday, C
  8. Andrew Romine, SS (1-for-2)
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (4-for-19, double, 5 K’s)

P: Rick Porcello

ROYALS (career numbers against Porcello)

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS (2-for-29, 6 K’s)
  2. Nori Aoki, RF (0-for-8, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF (2-for-8, walk, 2 K’s)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (7-for-22, 2 HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  5. Billy Butler, DH (16-for-47, 4 doubles, HR, walk, 10 K’s)
  6. Alex Gordon, LF (11-for-37, 2 doubles, 2 HR, walk, 8 K’s)
  7. Salvador Perez, C (5-for-19, 3 K’s)
  8. Omar Infante, 2B (4-for-9, triple)
  9. Mike Moustakas, 3B (5-for-23, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 4 K’s)

P: Jeremy Guthrie

Credit Hernan Perez for catching Salvador Perez off base

Hernan Perez is a long way removed from the days when he was an option on the Tigers’ shortstop carousel. He still arguably won the Tigers a game on Saturday. He did it from the bench.

As Brad Ausmus took questions about the decision to appeal the Royals’ go-ahead play on an errant attempt at second base, Ausmus wasn’t taking credit.

“I have to give credit where credit’s due. Hernan Perez was the guy who initially noticed it, sitting on the bench and watching the game,” Ausmus said. “He noticed that Perez never went back after the line drive. So that’s how it all started.”

The play in question began when Omar Infante lined out to second baseman Ian Kinsler with runners at second and third and one out in a 1-1 game. Kinsler, seeing Eric Hosmer scrambling to get back to second, immediately looked for a chance to double him off and end the threat.

Shortstop Eugenio Suarez, making his first start in a week, was late getting to the bag. Suarez dashed over as the throw went behind him and into short left field. Salvador Perez, who was headed back to third, took off for home.

Perez scored easily, but he never touched third base before doing so.

“I was at the end of the dugout, so I could see the third baseman and second base,” Hernan Perez said. “I was looking at the play at second and when I saw that Suarez missed the ball, I saw Perez, he didn’t go back to the base. When that happened, I ran to [first-base coach] Omar Vizquel and told him to appeal at third base.”

While the bench yelled as Scherzer to throw to third base, Vizquel told Ausmus, who appealed to third-base umpire Larry Vanover, who told Ausmus the play couldn’t be challenged. That’s where Ausmus had to do some convincing.

“I just spoke with [third-base umpire and crew chief] Larry Vanover and said, ‘We’re appealing it. Perez never went back and touched the bag.’ And there was some discussion as to whether it’s a challengeable play, because on a fly-ball tag-up in the outfield, it’s not challengeable. But this wasn’t a case where you’re challenging whether a guy left early or not. This is basically a missed base, and missed bases are challengeable. So that was the basis for the challenge.”

Vanover described the case as Ausmus saying there’s no difference. Ausmus, however, said he was arguing that there is a difference.

“It is kind of a gray area that probably, I would imagine, would have to be addressed at this point,” Ausmus said. “It’s not a tag-up play. You’re not questioning whether a guy left early. He never went and retagged the bases, which is essentially missing a base. And that is challengeable.”

The first umpire conference, Vanover said, involved whether it’s reviewable.

“Let’s go over what’s reviewable or not reviewable, so we talked about that. And the crew was like 75 percent that you cannot review that, but we weren’t 1000 percent [sure]. And in that situation I didn’t want to not go to the headset and ask to review it when I could have. I wanted to make darn sure I didn’t mess that up.”

That’s when he went to the headset.

“I said, ‘I need to know whether tagging up on a line drive is reviewable or not reviewable,’ and they came back with the answer that it’s not a reviewable play.”

At that point, the stadium is under the impression that it’s being reviewed. And thus, the play is being replayed on the scoreboard behind Vanover and as his crew. And the groans from most of the Kauffman Stadium crowd is hard to ignore as fans see that Perez did not touch third base after the lineout.

“I didn’t envy the umpires once they showed the replay on the board,” Ausmus said, “because he clearly didn’t go back and touch the base. I don’t envy the umpires’ position there, because if it’s not challengeable, 45,000 people know what the right call is, including all the umpires and both teams.

“It’s not an enviable position to be in, but ultimately, the goal is to get the call right. And they got the call right.”

But if replay officials couldn’t review the play, how did the crew get the call?

“We started talking about what happened, we walked through the play,” Vanover told a pool reporter. “We took a consensus of the information, and out of that crew consultation, we came up with the answer that he didn’t tag up, he didn’t tag the base.”

Asked if the replay on the scoreboard was a factor, Vanover said it was not. By rule, they’re not allowed to take it into consideration.

Ausmus didn’t know that the play wasn’t reviewed until reporters told him afterward. Neither, for that matter, did Max Scherzer, who was also thanking his lucky stars that Hernan Perez noticed it.

“Really, that goes to Hernan,” Scherzer said. “That just shows you anybody on the bench can be watching a play and can make a difference in a game. We had a guy on our bench make an unbelievable difference in a game today. …

“That’s a one-in-a-million play. It’s just unbelievable we had somebody on our bench be astute and be able to see that. I think everybody on our bench tomorrow will be watching every single play.”

Ausmus opens door a little for Soria in eighth, ninth

The Tigers won Saturday with help two September call-ups — Hernan Perez for spotting that Salvador Perez didn’t touch third base on his way to scoring a would-be go-ahead run, then Tyler Collins for his pinch-hit RBI single. Their win ended with 39-year-old Joe Nathan facing 42-year-old Raul Ibanez with the game on the line.

It also ended with the argument that the Tigers’ best relief pitcher did not pitch. At this point, however, Joakim Soria appears to be a reliever whose work is contingent on the rest of Detroit’s bullpen.

“Generally speaking, I would go for Joba [Chamberlain] and then Joe, assuming everyone is rested,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “But if I don’t like the way somebody’s throwing or pitching, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to go to Soria. All three of those guys are proven back-end-of-the-bullpen pitchers.”

That’s a little bit of a shift from his previous situation, but not a full-time role. The question, as this AL Central race heads into its final week, is whether the hesitation will lessen.

In Saturday’s case, Ausmus said, “Soria was almost in the game a number of times.”

Soria warmed up in both the eighth and ninth innings once Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan encountered baserunners. Chamberlain gave up an Eric Hosmer single to whittle a 3-1 lead to 3-2 and put the potential tying run on base, but Chamberlain retired Omar Infante from there.

At that point, Soria and Phil Coke — who also began warming with left-handed hitting Mike Moustakas on deck — sat down, and Nathan got up.

Ausmus said that Soria was “not necessarily” going to be held unless the game was tied there.

Once Jarrod Dyson and Alcides Escobar hit back-to-back one-out singles in the ninth, Soria began warming up again. He kept warming until Nathan closed out with back-to-back groundouts from Nori Aoki and Ibanez.

In similar situations this season, Ausmus has had relievers warming in the ninth in case Nathan gave up the lead. When asked after Saturday’s game if the decision to warm up Soria was in case the game was tied, Ausmus said, “That was if I wanted him in the game.”

Ausmus said Nathan looked good until the back-to-back singles. Of course, he only faced one batter before that, getting Moustakas to fly out to left leading off the ninth before putting Dyson in an 0-2 count.

After the singles, Nathan said, “Right there you have to keep making pitches, tell yourself you’ve still got your stuff, you’ve still got things working out, and keep on making quality pitches and hopefully things work out.”

Aoki, who went hitless Saturday after going 13-for-16 over his previous four games, battled Nathan for seven pitches before grounding out to second. Ibanez, 1-for-11 with four strikeouts but a home run last year off Nathan, grounded out to first on a 1-0 pitch.

With that, Nathan had his 33rd save, but also his fourth multi-hit outing in his last five appearances. He has finished off the save in four of those, ending each with the potential tying run either on at the plate or on base.

Asked how his nerves were as Saturday’s ninth inning played, Ausmus said, “Icy.”

He was half-kidding.

“No, I mean, you’re constantly thinking of things,” he said. “You’d love for your closer to get three straight outs on three straight pitches. There’s very few Mariano Riveras that have ever stepped on the pitching mound. I mean, the nature of a closer is you’re in danger when you take the ball. The game is already on the line. He doesn’t come in in a 10-1 game.”

The hits, meanwhile, he prefers to the walks. Saturday was Nathan’s first inning in his last four appearance without a walk.

“Sometimes he creates his own baserunners, yeah, and obviously you can avoid that,” Ausmus said. “Really, they’re going to get hits once in a while. That happens. The one thing you want to avoid is the walks. You don’t want to give them free bases.”

If the free passes pick up, Soria would presumably find himself picking up the ball in the ninth more often.

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

For a noon local time game after a night game, there’s very little resting of players, another sign of how much this series means. The one change in the lineup is the one Brad Ausmus said he’d do beforehand, swapping out James McCann with Bryan Holaday behind the plate.

Today’s game is on FOX national, not Fox Sports Detroit. It’s also on FM only in Detroit, no AM 1270, for what that’s worth.

Gameday | TV: FOX | Radio: 97.1 FM, Gameday Audio

TIGERS (2014 off James Shields)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-12, K)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (4-for-13, triple, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2-for-12, 2 doubles, walk, 4 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (4-for-10, 2 doubles, HR)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (3-for-9, double, 4 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-7, 3 K’s)
  7. Eugenio Suarez, SS
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (0-for-4)

P: Max Scherzer

ROYALS (2014 against Scherzer)

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS (2-for-8, K)
  2. Nori Aoki, RF (2-for-7, 2 walks, K)
  3. Josh Willingham, DH (1-for-2, walk)
  4. Alex Gordon, LF (3-for-8, double, HR, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. Salvador Perez, C (2-for-8, double, walk, K)
  6. Eric Hosmer, 1B (2-for-9, 2 K’s)
  7. Omar Infante, 2B (4-for-10, 3 K’s)
  8. Mike Moustakas, 3B (2-for-8, HR, 3 K’s)
  9. Jarrod Dyson, CF (1-for-2, K)

P: James Shields

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