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Friday’s lineups: Tigers at Orioles

The Tigers repeat the outfield setup of Justin Upton in center and Steven Moya in left against Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who has held right-handed hitters to an 11-for-61 (.180) clip compared to 19-for-76 (.250) against left-handed batters. The only change on Detroit’s side is behind the plate, where James McCann will catch Justin Verlander.

The Orioles put Matt Wieters back in at catcher despite his historic struggles against Justin Verlander.

Gameday | TV: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, MLB Gameday Audio

84tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers against Tillman)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-for-21, double, HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-8, HR, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (5-for-15, double, HR, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (5-for-14, double, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-8, K)
  6. Justin Upton, CF
  7. Steven Moya, LF
  8. James McCann, C (0-for-3, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (2-for-12, double, 2 K’s)

P: Justin Verlander

oslogoORIOLES (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Joey Rickard, LF
  2. Manny Machado, SS (3-for-14, double, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  3. Adam Jones, CF (9-for-38, double, 2 HR, walk, 10 K’s)
  4. Chris Davis, 1B (6-for-25, 3 walks, 11 K’s)
  5. Mark Trumbo, RF (2-for-9, 3 K’s)
  6. Matt Wieters, C (3-for-24, double, triple, HR, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  7. Pedro Alvarez, DH (2-for-12, double, 6 K’s)
  8. Jonathan Schoop, 2B (2-for-9, HR, double, 2 K’s)
  9. Ryan Flaherty, 3B (2-for-10, walk, K)

P: Chris Tillman

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers at Orioles

When news of Steven Moya’s call-up emerged this morning, the assumption was that it set up a day off for Justin Upton. The fact that Ubaldo Jimenez has been struggling against left-handed hitters this season (22-for-62, well above his .239 career average), and the prospect of putting Moya’s bat to the plate at homer-friendly Camden Yards made him too good to sit, and manager Brad Ausmus said Wednesday that he had discussed with coaches the idea of sitting Upton for a night.

Instead, the Tigers are trying something different. Moya is indeed in left field, but Upton is in center, his first start there since he was a prospect at Double-A Mobile in 2007. The small dimensions of Camden Yards give him less ground to cover, but it’ll be interesting nonetheless.

Also worth noting: With the Tigers lineup back at full strength, Nick Castellanos is batting fifth tonight rather than sixth, perhaps a side benefit of his success batting cleanup in Washington. Upton moves down to sixth.

The Orioles lineup, meanwhile, is scorching, no matter what the order. The O’s have back-to-back homers in each of their last three games. If they can do it against Pelfrey (or the bullpen), they’d tie the 1964 Twins for the record with four straight. Mark Trumbo is 6-for-15 with three homers in his last three games, and 5-for-10 against Pelfrey. Manny Machado is 20-for-48 with 11 extra-base hits in his last 12 games. Adam Jones has broken out of his early-season slump with an 8-for-19 stretch over his last four games.

Gameday | TV: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, MLB Gameday Audio

tigerhitterlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Jimenez)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (6-for-22, 3 doubles, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF (2-for-9, 2 HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (15-for-43, 4 doubles, HR, 9 walks, 8 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (9-for-29, double, 4 HR, walk, 5 K’s)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-6, K)
  6. Justin Upton, CF (7-for-25, 2 doubles, triple, 2 HR, 3 walks, 7 K’s)
  7.  Steven Moya, LF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (1-for-6, 3 K’s)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (3-for-4, triple, HR)

P: Mike Pelfrey

oriolesoldlogoORIOLES (career numbers vs. Pelfrey)

  1. Joey Rickard, LF
  2. Manny Machado, SS (2-for-6)
  3. Adam Jones, CF (6-for-12)
  4. Chris Davis, 1B (2-for-6, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
  5. Mark Trumbo, RF (5-for-10, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Pedro Alvarez, DH (1-for-10, double, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  7. Jonathan Schoop, 2B (2-for-3)
  8. Ryan Flaherty, 3B (1-for-2)
  9. Caleb Joseph, C (0-for-2)

P: Ubaldo Jimenez

Tigers calling up Moya from Toledo

The Tigers, victims of Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout performance Wednesday night, are about to get offensive reinforcements from the minors. Slugging outfield prospect Steven Moya is joining the team from Triple-A Toledo.

The Mud Hens announced the move on their twitter account prior to their game Thursday morning, with lefty reliever Blaine Hardy optioned to Toledo to make room. The Tigers have not made an announcement on their end. John Wagner of the Toledo Blade first reported the move.

The move restores the Tigers’ outfield and positional depth to normal after Detroit carried an extra reliever Wednesday night. But the 24-year-old Moya, Detroit’s 10th-ranked prospect by, isn’t likely heading up to sit the bench.

The 6-foot-7 Moya, the Tigers’ best power-hitting prospect the last few years, has torn up Triple-A pitching this season, batting .310 (39-for-126) through Wednesday with 11 doubles, nine home runs, 24 RBIs and a .968 OPS. It’s a carryover from what he showed in Spring Training, when he hit for power to all fields and cut down on what had been a crippling strikeout rate.

Moya had been Toledo’s everyday right fielder until the last couple days, when Mud Hens manager Lloyd McClendon moved him to left to try to improve his versatility. That was around the same time that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said they were considering giving struggling left fielder Justin Upton a day off.

Moya’s promotion gives the Tigers a chance to sit Upton for a game or two to clear his head if they want. Though Upton ended an 0-for-19 slump with a double off the center-field wall against Scherzer in Washington Wednesday night, he’s batting .221 (29-for-131) while leading the Majors with 53 strikeouts in 33 games.

The Tigers open a four-game series in Baltimore Thursday night. Ubaldo Jimenez, the Orioles’ scheduled starter for the series opener, is giving up a .355 average (22-for-62) to left-handed hitters this season.

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Nationals

Though Nick Castellanos’ last couple games (along with Miguel Cabrera’s near-mishap with his knee Monday, and wet conditions today) raised speculation that he might not get his originally scheduled day out of the lineup, Brad Ausmus sticks with the plan. While Cabrera makes his first start at third base since Aug. 12, 2014, Victor Martinez starts at first base for the third time in four days.

The Nationals juggle their lineup and move up Daniel Murphy behind Bryce Harper, giving them back-to-back dangerous left-handed hitters against a Tigers team that now has four left-handed relievers with Daniel Norris called up. Murphy’s familiarity facing Zimmermann (62 plate appearances), as opposed to being a teammate, might have played a role.

Gameday | TV: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, MLB Gameday Audio

1945tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers vs. Max Scherzer)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-for-25, double, triple, walk, 4 K’s)
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-3, HR)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (1-for-1, walk)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (1-for-6)
  5. Justin Upton, LF (0-for-5, walk, 3 K’s)
  6. James McCann, C
  7. Anthony Gose, CF (0-for-5, 5 K’s)
  8. Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-2)
  9. Jordan Zimmermann, P

senatorslogoNATIONALS (career numbers off Zimmermann)

  1. Ben Revere, CF (3-for-12, K)
  2. Anthony Rendon, 3B
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Daniel Murphy, 2B (20-for-61, 5 doubles, 4 HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  6. Jayson Werth, LF (2-for-5, HR, K)
  7. Wilson Ramos, C
  8. Danny Espinosa, SS
  9. Max Scherzer, P

Tigers recall Norris, option Collins

After a season-opening DL stint and a stint in the minors, Daniel Norris is back in the big leagues, though not in the way anyone would’ve imagined going into the season. The Tigers recalled the promising young left-hander from Triple-A Toledo, but he’s expected to serve as an extra arm in the bullpen rather than join the rotation.

Norris was a strong candidate for the fifth spot in Detroit’s rotation out of camp before he injured his back. After an up-and-down rehab assignment, the Tigers optioned him to Toledo full-time to work on his stuff.

The 23-year-old Norris is 0-3 with a 9.98 ERA in four starts for the Mud Hens, allowing 17 earned runs on 23 hits over 15 1/3 innings with 10 walks and 19 strikeouts. He gave up seven earned runs on eight hits over 2 1/3 innings in his most recent start last Friday, allowing four walks against five strikeouts.

To open space on the 25-man roster, the Tigers optioned outfielder Tyler Collins back to Toledo after an uneventful two-day stint in the Majors. Detroit recalled Collins on Monday to restore the bench to full strength for Interleague Play, but he didn’t play in either of the first two games against the Nationals. Andrew Romine got a late-inning assignment in center field on Monday over Collins, who has not appeared in a game since his ill-fated game against Oakland at Comerica Park on April 25.

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers at Nationals

Miguel Cabrera was going to get out of the starting lineup tonight or tomorrow night as Brad Ausmus rotates his corner infielders without a designated hitter. He’s out of the lineup tonight after jamming his knee on a hard slide into second base Monday night. His knee is fine, but Ausmus figured that if he’s going to get a game out of the lineup this series, might as well make it this one.

Also getting a game off is Jose Iglesias, mired in a 1-for-19 slump.

Gameday | TV: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, MLB Gameday Audio


  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF
  3. Victor Martinez, 1B
  4. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  5. Justin Upton, LF (0-for-1, walk, K vs. Joe Ross)
  6. James McCann, C
  7. Anthony Gose, CF
  8. Andrew Romine, SS
  9. Michael Fulmer, P


  1. Ben Revere, CF
  2. Anthony Rendon, 3B
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  5. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  6. Jayson Werth, LF
  7. Wilson Ramos, C
  8. Danny Espinosa, SS
  9. Joe Ross, P

Ausmus on pinch-hitting Martinez, Salty in 8th

The questions for Brad Ausmus before Monday’s loss centered on whether he expected to walk Bryce Harper. That wasn’t a surprise. The questions after Monday’s loss included Victor Martinez’s pinch-hit intentional walk in the eighth. That wasn’t a big surprise, either. In the end, Ausmus anticipated it, and opted to take his shot with an extra run for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Once first base opened with Miguel Cabrera thrown out at third and Nick Castellanos taking second in his place, Ausmus expected Nationals manager Dusty Baker would walk Martinez if he hit for James McCann with two outs. If Saltalamacchia pinch-hit, that probably wouldn’t happen.

However, Ausmus believed this was his inning for using Martinez in a high-leverage situation.

“I assumed that Dusty probably was going to walk him,” Ausmus said. “But ultimately, you’re going to end up getting Saltalamacchia at the plate. I either hit Saltalamacchia right away, or I hit Saltalamacchia with two guys on instead of one. I was in between, quite frankly.I wasn’t sure we’d have another opportunity to use Victor, because we’re at that point in the lineup. We were coming around to the top of the lineup in the ninth inning.

“I was in between. I decided if Dusty walked him, hopefully Salty gets a big hit with two guys on. You would end up getting Salty vs. somebody either way.”

Martinez hit for McCann and was walked, replaced by Andrew Romine as a pinch-runner. Saltalamacchia hit for Anthony Gose and struck out. The exchange ended up including three Detroit players off the bench, ending with Romine in center field and Saltalamacchia behind the plate. But Ausmus ultimately decided it was his inning to go for it.

Before the game, Ausmus held a lengthy media session that included him talking about his future and his decision-making process as speculation built about his job security.

“Before I was ever hired, I said it in a [job] interview: I will never make a decision because I’m afraid to get second-guessed by the media, and I’ll never make a decision because I’m afraid to lose my job,” Ausmus explained. “I’m just not going to do it.”

He reached that conclusion out of observation from his playing days.

“I’ve seen managers make decisions because they were worried about what the media was saying,” he said. “That’s not why you make decisions. You make decisions because you think it’s the right decision to help your team win. Now, are you going to always be right? No, of course not. Managers are human. And so many times, there’s a gray area where maybe you should or shouldn’t do it. If the pick works, it looks like it’s great. If it doesn’t, then it gets questioned.”

Asked if his outlook of managing on the hot seat has changed at all from last September, when speculation about his job was higher than this, Ausmus indicated not much his changed.

“I’ve been on the hot seat for a year,” he quipped. “It hasn’t changed much. I guess I’m more comfortable with it now.”

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at Nationals

Victor Martinez is the first of the Tigers’ big trio to sit out of the starting lineup this series. It was going to happen at some point. The interesting part is AL batting leader Nick Castellanos moving up to fill the cleanup spot with Martinez out. Justin Upton continues to bat fifth.

“When a guy’s hitting the ball well, you always have a little trepidation about moving him,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “But with Vic not playing, I felt like, the way he’s swinging, he was the best option to slide in behind Miggy.”

After Bryce Harper’s six-walk game Sunday (and 13-walk series) against the Cubs, the question came up to Ausmus whether he might do the same. Doesn’t sound like he will, but he’ll pick and choose his spots when to pitch to him.

“I think a lot of times, the game dictates whether you walk him or not,” Ausmus said. “He’s probably the most dangerous hitter in the game right now, so if you do pitch to him, you pitch to him carefully. And if you think he can beat you, you probably don’t pitch to him at all.”

Gameday | TV: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, MLB Gameday Audio

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Stephen Strasburg)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-4, walk, 3 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (1-for-4)
  4. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  5. Justin Upton, LF (9-for-31, 2 HR, 2 walks, 8 K’s)
  6. James McCann, C
  7. Anthony Gose, CF
  8. Jose Iglesias, SS
  9. Anibal Sanchez, P (0-for-4, 4 K’s)

nationalslogoNATIONALS (career numbers vs. Sanchez)

  1. Ben Revere, LF (1-for-5, walk)
  2. Anthony Rendon, 3B (0-for-2, walk)
  3. Bryce Harper, RF (3-for-9, 2 triples, HR, K)
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B (11-for-48, double, HR, 5 walks, 8 K’s)
  5. Daniel Murphy, 2B (5-for-10, double, triple, K)
  6. Wilson Ramos, C (5-for-16, double, 2 walks, K)
  7. Michael A. Taylor, CF
  8. Danny Espinosa, SS (3-for-16, walk, 7 K’s)
  9. Stephen Strasburg, P (0-for-2, K)

Mother’s Day lineups: Tigers vs. Rangers

With another round of Interleague Play at a National League park (Nationals Park, to be exact) coming up, Victor Martinez gets a game to prep at first base, while Miguel Cabrera gets a day out of the field. They switch spots in an otherwise standard lineup.

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS (career numbers vs. Martin Perez)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-3, triple)
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-4, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (2-for-3, 4 walks)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (3-for-6, double, HR, K)
  5. Justin Upton, LF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-1)
  7. James McCann, C (0-for-2)
  8. Anthony Gose, CF (0-for-2, 2 K’s)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-2)

P: Justin Verlander

oldrangerslogoRANGERS (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Rougned Odor, 2B (0-for-8, K)
  2. Nomar Mazara, RF
  3. Adrian Beltre, 3B (15-for-54, 2 doubles, HR, 2 walks, 10 K’s)
  4. Prince Fielder, DH (2-for-10, double, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  5. Ian Desmond, LF (0-for-4, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Mitch Moreland, 1B (7-for-25, 4 doubles, 3 walks, 9 K’s)
  7. Elvis Andrus, SS (9-for-36, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  8. Bobby Wilson, C (0-for-4, K)
  9. Delino DeShields, CF (1-for-6, 2 K’s)

P: Martin Perez


Tigers lick wounds on way out of Cleveland

The quotes were short and sweet in the Tigers clubhouse as they left Cleveland with their second three-game series sweep to the Indians in as many weeks, this one more humbling than the last. Players ate quickly, packed even quicker and readied for the short trip home.

The flight back to Detroit is quicker than a morning commute. But after six games, the gap between Detroit and Cleveland feels wider than Lake Erie, even as they sit next to each other in the AL Central standings, both a game over .500.

“They outplayed us. Simple as that,” Brad Ausmus said. “They outpitched us. They outhit us. They outdefended us. Period. They were the better baseball team out there. They’ve been the better baseball team all six games that they’ve played against us.”

Or, as Ausmus put it more succinctly, “Quite frankly, they kind of kicked our asses all six games.”

Or, as Victor Martinez put it even more succinctly, “We got beat. Move on. It’s that simple.”

For a team that has had its way with Cleveland for the last five years, even last season, it’s a huge reversal. The Tigers were 37-19 against the Indians over the previous three seasons, including 11-7 last year. That said, they didn’t want to dwell on it.

“Tomorrow is a new day,” Ian Kinsler said, “so as far as next series and the team that’s coming to Detroit, this is something that we forget quickly. But next time we play Cleveland, we understand that they’ve won six in a row on us. I think everybody in here knows that. So whatever you need to do to get ready to play those guys the next time we face them, then guys are going to be ready to play.

“We were playing good baseball. We had Oakland coming to town and we played them tough, and then obviously in Minnesota we played really good baseball. Something with Cleveland right now. Baseball’s weird that way. Obviously it never feels good to be swept, but it’s a long season. We have 12 more games against them or whatever. There’s more matches to come. There’s more times when we face this team. But it never feels good to be swept.”

There was a sense among some players that the “something” was momentum and confidence. The Tigers had their chances to take early leads Wednesday and Thursday and couldn’t do it. Their at-bats Thursday with runners in scoring position weren’t good. On Thursday, they had solidly struck balls from Victor Martinez and Justin Upton in the first inning with a chance to plate a run, both balls caught.

“It is what it is,” Martinez said. “We had opportunities. We didn’t get the best out of it. Everything they hit seemed like they found holes. We got some good hard-hit balls with men in scoring position right at somebody. You can’t control that. We got beat and we move on, start a new series.”

Said Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “They’re just getting big hits right now. That’s the name of the game. They’ve got guys in that lineup that can hit, and so do we. It’s just a matter of timely hitting, getting in the right situation and delivering. They’ve been able to do that, and we haven’t. Next time, hopefully we can turn that around.”

They’ll have to wait a while for that. The Tigers and Indians don’t play each other again until the final weekend of June, a three-game series at Comerica Park. They meet again the week before the All-Star break in Cleveland.

Those games could have a big impact on how both teams perceive each other heading into the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

“We want to beat these guys, especially in our division,” Saltalamacchia said. “But we still have our head above water. Them beating us six out of six, that adds a little fuel. I expect us to be a different team when we come to play them, and I expect them to be a different team. That’s the way it goes.”


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