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Saturday’s lineups: Tigers at Jays

Rogers 001

The Tigers saw Marcus Stroman in Spring Training, and they rocked him for seven runs on six hits in just a third of an inning at Joker Marchant Stadium. He has progressed a little bit since then, and coming off a Friday night of R.A. Dickey knuckleballs, his mid-90s fastball is going to be a major adjustment for Tigers hitters.

That said, there’s an interesting split going on with the right-handed Stroman: Right-handed hitters are batting .291 off Stroman, while he’s holding left-handed batters to a .207 clip. The difference in on-base percentage, however, is way smaller, .308 to .276, but it’s enough of a gap that Bryan Holaday gets a rare start against a right-handed hurler.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

TIGERS

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

P: Max Scherzer

BLUE JAYS (career numbers off Scherzer)

  1. Jose Reyes, SS (1-for-3, K)
  2. Melky Cabrera, LF (3-for-12, triple, walk, 3 K’s)
  3. Jose Bautista, RF (8-for-14, 4 doubles, HR, 3 walks, K)
  4. Dioner Navarro, C
  5. Colby Rasmus, DH (2-for-7, walk, K)
  6. Juan Francisco, 1B
  7. Munenori Kawasaki, 3B (0-for-2, K)
  8. Ryan Goins, 2B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF (0-for-3, 3 K’s)

P: Marcus Stroman

Friday’s lineups: Tigers at Blue Jays

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Apparently the Tigers had to check all their injuries at customs. Both Torii Hunter and Eugenio Suarez return to the starting lineup tonight — Hunter from a bad hand, Suarez from a bad knee. Whether their ailing offense gets back to health is another question. A meeting with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could complicate things. He lasted just five-plus innings and walked four in Detroit June 4, but his only runs came on a pair of solo homers.

TIGERS (career numbers off R.A. Dickey)

  1. Rajai Davis, CF (3-for-5, walk, 2 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (2-for-10, 2 HR, walk)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (6-for-21, double, 2 HR, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (3-for-11, double, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  5. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-18, 4 doubles, triple, 4 K’s)
  6. J.D. Martinez, LF (2-for-3, double)
  7. Alex Avila, C (4-for-10, double, K)
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-2)
  9. Eugenio Suarez, SS

P: Anibal Sanchez

BLUE JAYS (career numbers against Sanchez)

  1. Jose Reyes, SS (8-for-31, double, 5 walks, 5 K’s)
  2. Melky Cabrera, LF (10-for-21, 2 K’s)
  3. Jose Bautista, RF (1-for-8, walk, 2 K’s)
  4. Dioner Navarro, DH (0-for-2, K)
  5. Danny Valencia, 1B
  6. Colby Rasmus, CF (3-for-16, HR, 2 walks, 10 K’s)
  7. Munenori Kawasaki, 3B
  8. Josh Thole, C (2-for-7, double, walk, K)
  9. Ryan Goins, 2B

P: R.A. Dickey

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers at Yankees

Day off for Miguel Cabrera + another day out for Torii Hunter and Eugenio Suarez = a pieced-together Tigers lineup. Ian Kinsler slots down to Cabrera’s usual third spot in the order, with Rajai Davis leading off and Ezequiel Carrera bumped up to second.

On the Yankees side, Derek Jeter is off for the day game after the night game. Stephen Drew moves over to short, with Brendan Ryan at second.

TIGERS

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

P: Rick Porcello

YANKEES (career numbers off Porcello)

  1. Brett Gardner, LF (4-for-13, 2 walks, K)
  2. Martin Prado, 3B (1-for-3)
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (7-for-10, double, 2 HR, walk)
  4. Carlos Beltran, DH (3-for-5, walk)
  5. Chase Headley, 1B (2-for-3, double, HR)
  6. Stephen Drew, SS (1-for-4, HR, 2 walks)
  7. Francisco Cervelli, C
  8. Ichiro Suzuki, RF (9-for-25, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
  9. Brendan Ryan, 2B (3-for-6, walk, K)

P: Shane Greene

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Yankees

As expected, no Torii Hunter in the Tigers lineup tonight, which means Brad Ausmus had to put a left-handed hitter (Ezequiel Carrera) in his outfield against Chris Capuano. That actually might not be a bad thing, considering Capuano has reverse splits going — .306 average/.814 OPS allowed to left-handed hitters, .248/.726 against righties. For his career, though, right-handed batters are hitting 40 points higher off Capuano than left-handed hitters.

In the infield, Eugenio Suarez is out again. Andrew Romine gets the start as he tries to further his small-sample success off lefties (10-for-33 with a double).

TIGERS (career numbers off Capuano)

  1. Rajai Davis, LF (3-for-5, 2 doubles, walk, K)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (2-for-2, HR, walk)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (9-for-23, double, 4 HR, 9 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (3-for-7, HR, 2 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-2, walk, K)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-1, K)
  7. Bryan Holaday, C (1-for-1, triple)
  8. Andrew Romine, SS (0-for-1, K)
  9. Ezequiel Carrera, CF

P: Justin Verlander

YANKEES (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Brett Gardner, CF (5-for-23, double, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
  2. Derek Jeter, SS (16-for-44, double, HR, 4 walks, 10 K’s)
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (6-for-26, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B (3-for-38, HR, 5 walks, 12 K’s)
  5. Carlos Beltran, DH (1-for-7, 2 K’s)
  6. Brian McCann, C (1-for-5, double, walk, K)
  7. Chase Headley, 3B (2-for-6, double, 4 K’s)
  8. Stephen Drew, 2B (4-for-18, double, walk, 11 K’s)
  9. Martin Prado, RF (3-for-6, 2 walks)

P: Chris Capuano

12 innings, no walks, either side

David Price’s Tigers debut is going to go down as one of the most anticipated August games in Tigers history. His performance — 8.2 innings, three runs, no walks and 10 strikeouts — lived up to his billing as an efficient strike-thrower.

For that reason, too, the game is going to go down in history. Not only did Price avoid walking anyone, so did the three relievers that followed him, including closer Joe Nathan. So did the eight Yankees that pitched in the game.

How rare is that: For a 12-inning game, it’s the first such game in nearly a century.

Credit ESPN Stats and Information with the stat last night:

A little research on baseball-reference found the specific game: The Dodgers beat the Pirates in 13 innings, 4-3, on July 25, 1917 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Then-youngster Burleigh Grimes pitched 9 1/3 innings of 11-hit ball with two earned runs and four strikeouts. Sherry Smith earned the win for Brooklyn with five innings of one-hit scoreless relief.

 

Rk Tm Opp Date #Matching CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO
1 DET NYY 2014-08-05 2 0 0 1 24.0 16 7 4 0 22
2 BRO PIT 1917-07-25 2 0 0 0 26.0 19 5 1 0 9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/6/2014.

The fact that the Yankees used so many pitchers raises another historic question: What’s the record for number of pitchers in a game to not issue a walk? The answer is that last night’s game wasn’t even close. Three other games this season have featured more pitchers who didn’t issue a walk than the 11 used by the Tigers and Yankees Tuesday. The Mariners and Angels had a 16-inning game just a few weeks ago that used 17 pitchers, 13 of which didn’t issue a walk.

 

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers at Yankees

Eugenio Suarez remains out after leaving last night’s game, though reports out of the Bronx suggest he might not miss as much time as initially feared. The fact that Suarez didn’t go on the DL and Hernan Perez wasn’t rushed in is a fairly good sign.

Meanwhile, Ezequiel Carrera returns to the bench after his highlight catch Monday night. The Yankees have another righty on the mound with Hiroki Kuroda, but it’s a better matchup for Davis, not because of the lefty-righty splits but because of the history (5-for-16). If the last couple days are the template for how Davis will be used against right-handers, then it’s safer to describe him as the regular starter in center fielder than to call him a platoon player.

Oh, and this new pitcher Price is starting for the Detroiters. He has a little bit of history with the Yankees.

TIGERS (career numbers off Kuroda)

  1. Rajai Davis, CF (5-for-16, double, HR, K)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-14, HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (5-for-12, double, 2 HR, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-3, K)
  5. Torii Hunter, RF (0-for-7, 2 K’s)
  6. J.D. Martinez, LF (1-for-3)
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, C (1-for-6, HR, 2 K’s)
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

P: David Price

YANKEES (career numbers against Price)

  1. Brett Gardner, LF (2-for-17, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
  2. Derek Jeter, SS (18-for-59, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 8 walks, 8 K’s)
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (15-for-48, 4 doubles, 2 triples, HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B (11-for-50, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 5 walks, 4 K’s)
  5. Carlos Beltran, DH (1-for-9, 2 K’s)
  6. Brian McCann, C (4-for-8, 2 HR, walk)
  7. Chase Headley, 3B
  8. Martin Prado, RF (2-for-6, 2 K’s)
  9. Brendan Ryan, 2B (1-for-3, 2 K’s)

P: Hiroki Kuroda

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at Yankees

After three consecutive matchups against Rockies left-handers, the Tigers are scheduled to face three right-handers over their four-game series with the Yankees, starting tonight with Brandon McCarthy (who’s allowing a .311 average to left-handed hitters this year). That means the long-awaited first Tigers start for Ezequiel Carrera, who came up from Triple-A Toledo to take Austin Jackson’s roster spot and watched Rajai Davis tear up Rockies pitching before entering as a late-inning defensive replacement. Carrera will bat second, with Ian Kinsler leading off, which means Carrera and Cabrera will be back-to-back on your scorecard. Adjust accordingly.

The righty-lefty splits also result in a game for Don Kelly at third base, and a day off for Nick Castellanos, who went 1-for-12 with four strikeouts against Colorado this past weekend.

Brett Gardner comes into this series red-hot, having just won AL Player of the Week honors by going 11-for-23 with five homers last week. However, he’s 0-for-14 with five strikeouts lifetime against Max Scherzer. One of these trends is going to break tonight.

TIGERS (career numbers off McCarthy)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-18, double, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  2. Ezequiel Carrera, CF (1-for-3, walk, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (4-for-13, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 3 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (7-for-21, 4 doubles, HR, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
  5. Torii Hunter, RF (8-for-16, 3 doubles, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  6. J.D. Martinez, LF
  7. Don Kelly, 3B (3-for-8, double, triple, 2 K’s)
  8. Alex Avila, C (2-for-11, 2 K’s)
  9. Eugenio Suarez, SS

P: Max Scherzer

YANKEES (career numbers against Scherzer)

  1. Brett Gardner, LF (0-for-14, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  2. Derek Jeter, SS (5-for-16, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (6-for-13, double, HR, 5 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B (3-for-19, double, HR, walk, 5 K’s)
  5. Carlos Beltran, DH (0-for-0, walk)
  6. Brian McCann, C (0-for-5, 4 walks, 3 K’s)
  7. Chase Headley, 3B (3-for-12, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  8. Stephen Drew, 2B (3-for-19, 2 doubles, walk, 8 K’s)
  9. Martin Prado, RF (2-for-3, double)

P: Brandon McCarthy

Analyzing Anibal’s fastball

Anibal Sanchez was barely a teenager when the Braves had their run of success with the Big Three rotation of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, but he was around to see them at the end of their careers.

“I’m a big follower of Greg Maddux,” he said. “To me, he’s one of the best pitchers, a guy that throws 84-85 with nasty command. That’s unbelievable. I faced Smoltz when I was with the Marlins early in my career. In ’06 I had the opportunity to face him. You just think about when this guy was 10 years younger.”

Sanchez’s game is different than either one of those guys. He throws way harder than Maddux, but he’s not as overpowering as Smoltz. But when Sanchez is on, there’s a simplicity to his pitching.

“He never throws anything straight,” Victor Martinez said.

When he’s on, even his fastball isn’t straight. When it moves like Sunday, he barely has to throw anything else.

The numbers from brooksbaseball.net and MLB.com Gameday are scary. Sixty-one of Sanchez’s 117 pitches were fastballs, averaging just under 94 mph, topping out at 96. He threw 42 of 61 fastballs for strikes. Rockies hitters swung at 32 of them — and missed 16 times. The only one they put in play was Brandon Barnes’ line-drive single in the seventh. That leaves 15 fastballs fouled off.

Think about that: 61 fastballs, one put in play. Colorado put more curveballs (3), sliders (4) and splitters (3) in play, according to the data, than fastballs.

“My last game, I feel like I had more life out of my fastball,” Sanchez said, “and today I used it all the time, executing until the guys can make contact. So I don’t try to throw a couple fastballs and go to the other pitch. I just keep my fastball, keep it on the corners, and I used it all the time.

“When you have a lot of command of your fastball, you can use the rest of your pitches and they’re going to work. Today when I throw my slider, any off pitch worked pretty much, especially because I put my fastball down and in and hit the corners very well today.”

Think, too, about this: Because Sanchez threw a few extra-slow changeups, his velocity Sunday ranged from 96 at the top end to 70 at the bottom. He went from the mid-90s to low-70s from pitch to pitch at least twice.

“He used his fastball perfectly today,” Brad Ausmus said. “He threw it for strikes. He threw it in, he threw it out, and all of his other pitches as a result were much better. He used his fastball as well as I’ve seen him use his fastball all year, and it just made his other pitches that much more effective.”

It’s one thing for a pitcher to say he’s going to attack hitters with fastballs and dare them to hit it. It’s another thing to pitch seven shutout innings, strike out 12 and walk none doing it.

In fact, according to baseball-reference.com, the only Tiger since 1914 to strike out 12 batters without a walk or a run allowed is Max Scherzer. He did it on June 17, 2012 — also against the Rockies.

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Rockies

The Rockies are starting a left-handed pitcher for the 19th consecutive game. The Tigers are starting Alex Avila against a lefty for the second straight game. Avila’s three-hit game last night (two hits off Tyler Matzek, the third off ageless righty LaTroy Hawkins) didn’t hurt.

“I didn’t want Alex to not play three games,” Brad Ausmus said last night. “I was toying with the idea of Holaday playing the first and third game of the series, and it crossed my mind I could play him all three, but I just decided I didn’t want to keep Alex out that long. And then he made me look good by getting three hits.”

That said, Avila will have his work cut out against Jorge De La Rosa, who’s allowing a mere .183 average against left-handed hitters this year with 34 strikeouts in 125 plate appearances. However, De La Rosa has a bizarre home-road split for a Rockies starting pitcher: He’s 7-2 with a 3.43 ERA at Coors Field, but 4-4 with a 5.28 ERA on the road. He’s allowing a .754 OPS away from the Rocky Mountain air, compared with .687 at home.

TIGERS (career numbers vs. De La Rosa)

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

P: Anibal Sanchez

ROCKIES (career numbers off Sanchez)

  1. Charlie Culberson Corey Dickerson, DH
  2. Josh Rutledge, SS
  3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B (6-for-19, 2 doubles, walk, 3 K’s)
  5. Drew Stubbs, CF (2-for-8, double, 4 K’s)
  6. Jason Pridie, LF (0-for-0, sacrifice bunt)
  7. Wilin Rosario, C
  8. Brandon Barnes, RF
  9. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B

P: Jorge De La Rosa

David Price: “I just want to fit in”

Price 003

That was a frequent phrase during David Price’s 20-minute session with reporters in the Tigers dugout at Comerica Park. He said it at least a handful of times. He also talked about the adjustment of pitching in Detroit, pitching in front of a packed house, and pitching with World Series expectations.

Highlights …

How Price found out Tigers were a possibility as Thursday went along:

“I didn’t know Detroit was even in the running for it. … Joba texted me whenever I was playing golf that morning, and said ‘Make sure you bring your sticks.’ I was like ‘We already came to Detroit …’ Then a couple hours later, I heard about it. It’s pretty cool to be traded to a first-place team.”

How the rest of the day followed:

“I played golf early in the morning that day, and then I went to the ballpark and got my workout in and threw with Hellickson, because he was throwing. I just went there to get away from everything because the baseball field is where I feel the most comfortable, to really get away from everything. My agent texted me whenever I was leaving and said it was about to happen in about the next half-hour or hour, so just be prepared. And I went home, just sat on the couch, sat there with the dogs and my girlfriend. We didn’t have the TV on or anything. We were just relaxing. My phone let me know when it happened. It was a whirlwind. I’m excited.”

On his success against Miguel Cabrera, 1-for-17 against him:

“I tried to throw strike one. I feel like if you’re 1-0, or 2-1 against that guy, he’s going to hit the baseball hard. He definitely hit his fair share of balls hard. He hit a couple balls hard here against me in my last start. In his first at bat, with a runner on third base, with one out, he hit a bullet to center for an RBI. In his second or third at-bat, he hit a ball to right that, if the wind’s not blowing in 30 mph, or if we’re in a normal park, it’s definitely a home run. In his fourth at-bat, it was a generous call on my cutter. I told him at the All-Star Game, I thought it was a ball, and he definitely agreed. I’ll always take whatever I can get, especially against guys like that. I really don’t know how I had the amount of success I had against him. I feel like, trying to get ahead, and just making my pitch.”

On the excitement of pitching in front of a sellout crowd:

“We still had our good crowds, whenever we were facing the really good teams, the Bostons, the New Yorks, the Detroits — any first-place team or weekend series, stuff like that — I feel like we did pretty good. But knowing you’re going to get one every fifth day, every start here, that’s pretty special, and I’m looking forward to it.”

On why he feels this season has been his best pitching:

“I’m commanding the strike zone at a rate I really never have. Strike one, throwing strikes. I know I throw a lot of strikes. If it’s 0-2, I’m not trying to get a guy out out of the strike zone. I think doing that, the hitters, they definitely know that so 0-0 I’m getting swings, 0-1. Guys are trying to not just put the ball in play, but they’re trying to force early action, and that’s what I want. I want a guy on or out in 3 pitches or less. If I can do that, if I give up 2, 3, 4 runs, I feel like I can still pitch in that 7th, 8th, possibly 9th inning, getting guys on or out in 3 pitches or less. Just throwing strikes, attacking the strike zone, hitters know that, so they want to put the ball in play early, kind of like Detroit did the other Sunday.”

On his pride in innings pitched:

“Six innings, I feel like that kind of used to be the staple. You want to get through 6. If I throw 6, I don’t care if I give up 0 or 1, I’m not going to be tremendously happy about that start. Seven innings is cool, but I definitely want to get 25 or 27 outs in a game. I want to be able to pitch into that 8th or 9th inning. That’s what I take pride in.”

On his postseason history:

“I had a really bad start last year in Boston. I haven’t had a whole lot of postseason starts. I don’t know how many starts it is. I know Game 163 last year didn’t count, but that’s a Game 5 or a Game 7 of the postseason. If you lose that game, you go home. I know I faced Texas quite a few times, and that’s a team that I can’t stand facing. I mean, they know that. That’s a park I really struggle to pitch in. With the lineups they had in 2010, 2011, that was an extremely tough team to pitch against. I’m pretty sure I faced Cliff Lee in a couple of those starts and I think he threw complete-game shutouts against us, so that made it even tougher.

“I know I can pitch in the postseason. I did it when I was a rookie in 2008 when I had no idea about Major League Baseball, really. I was facing good teams at that time. I came in this park with bases loaded facing Miguel, I think I was facing 2-3-4 in that lineup and got through it. That was a big moment for me right there, and I look forward to keeping it going.”

On his timetable for deciding his long-term future:

“I have no idea to be honest. I try to focus on the now. Whenever you focus on six months from now or 18 months from now, that means you’re not focusing on what you’re trying to do right now. And what I’m trying to do right now, I’ve said before, in between my starts to be the best teammate I can be, and whenever it’s my turn to pitch, go out there and pitch as deep into the game as I can and give these guys a good chance to win. That’s what I’m focusing on right now. That’s been my mindset ever since I got here. It’s not worrying about free agency or what all’s going on with that. I want to focus in on right now, on the Detroit Tigers, on my teammates, and just give these guys a chance to win every fifth day.”

On the pressure of the perception as a difference-maker:

“It does add a little bit of pressure, but in Tampa I was looked at as the difference maker as well, not only the difference maker but just the leader of the staff. This staff, there’s five leaders, I feel like, with the way that these guys are throwing the baseball. I guess if Rick Porcello is our five, that’s pretty remarkable, the way he’s thrown the ball this year as well. I don’t add any extra pressure on myself. Like I said before, pressure is perceived. If I can go out there, first and foremost, I want to have fun on the baseball field. Whenever you lose sight of that, it really turns into a job, and then it’s not a whole lot of fun even if you are throwing the ball well. I want to go out there and have fun, enjoy my teammates, enjoy the environment, just help this team win.”

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