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Could Tyler Collins stick around?

A week ago, the idea of Tyler Collins as anything more than a placeholder for the outfield spot that belongs to J.D. Martinez sounded too laughable to seriously consider. Collins, a .214 hitter at Triple-A Toledo this year, was seemingly doomed in Detroit after his infamous outfield gesture in April until Steven Moya’s struggles earned him a return. Even when Collins started playing semi-regularly, the progress Martinez made over the past week put a countdown on his starts in right field.

Martinez is expected to give the Tigers a major boost when he returns. But the more plays Collins makes this week — from Wednesday’s throw from center field to home plate in Boston to Friday’s three-run homer — the more he makes a case to stick around as an extra outfielder off the bench. It appears to be a growing consideration for manager Brad Ausmus.

“The better he plays, the more we have to think about keeping him,” Ausmus said. “It’s a simple fact. He seems to be learning to slow the game down a little bit.”

There are two logical ways for the Tigers to keep Collins: Either shed a utility player (unlikely), or cut down the bullpen from eight pitchers to seven (more feasible). They’ve carried an extra reliever for the better part of two months, giving them extra depth while the bullpen was struggling and starters were struggling to pitch deep into games. That’s not as big of an issue now, evidenced by the fact that Dustin Molleken’s appearance Friday was his first in 13 days and his second in three weeks.

Still, the Tigers have to decide the benefit, if there’s enough playing time available for Collins to make it worth keeping him around. If Cameron Maybin’s injuries remain a concern down a stretch, or if J.D. Martinez’s arm is iffy enough to make Ausmus prefer a defensive replacement late in games, then there might be a place for Collins on the bench.

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Astros

Cameron Maybin returns to the Tigers lineup, playing center field and batting second. Though Jose Iglesias had some success in the two spot, Brad Ausmus said he didn’t give much thought to keeping him there with Maybin back. Iglesias goes back to the nine spot, setting up RBI opportunities for Ian Kinsler.

Matt Boyd gave up five runs in as many innings against the Astros last August in Houston, including two solo homers to Colby Rasmus and a two-run triple from Marvin Gonzalez. He’s been a different pitcher lately, inducing more ground balls and keeping his pitches down more regularly, but he’ll get a test with youngsters George Springer and Alex Bregman in Houston’s lineup. Springer didn’t face Boyd last year because he was injured. Bregman wasn’t in the big leagues until this week.

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

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Collin McHugh)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-10, K)
  2. Cameron Maybin, CF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (4-for-8, 2 doubles, walk, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-6, double)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (4-for-9, double)
  6. Justin Upton, LF (1-for-8, HR, K)
  7. Tyler Collins, RF (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (2-for-3, double, HR, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (4-for-8, double, K)

P: Matt Boyd

astroslogoASTROS (career numbers vs. Boyd)

  1. George Springer, RF
  2. Marwin Gonzalez, 1B (2-for-3, triple)
  3. Jose Altuve, 2B (1-for-3)
  4. Carlos Correa, SS (1-for-2, walk, K)
  5. Evan Gattis, C (0-for-3, K)
  6. Colby Rasmus, LF (2-for-2, 2 HR)
  7. Alex Bregman, 3B
  8. Tyler White, DH
  9. Jake Marisnick, CF (0-for-2, K)

P: Collin McHugh

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers at Red Sox (updated)

Cameron Maybin remains out with back issues. Tyler Collins gets the start in center field tonight, with Mike Aviles in right field against knuckleballer Steven Wright (not to be confused with comedian Steven Wright).

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

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Wright)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-2, walk, K)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-2, double)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-2)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-2, double)
  6. Justin Upton, LF
  7. Mike Aviles, RF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Tyler Collins, CF

P: Mike Pelfrey

bostonlogoRED SOX (career numbers vs. Pelfrey)

  1. Mookie Betts, RF (2-for-6)
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (3-for-9, 2 K’s)
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (2-for-6, double, K)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (1-for-8, double, walk, K)
  5. Hanley Ramirez, 1B (10-for-53, HR, 4 walks, 8 K’s)
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  7. Travis Shaw, 3B
  8. Ryan Hanigan, C Sandy Leon, C (2-for-4, walk)
  9. Brock Holt, LF

P: Steven Wright

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at Red Sox

Five years ago, Drew Pomeranz played a small role in helping the Tigers acquire Doug Fister. Pomeranz was part of the Indians’ trade package that landed Ubaldo Jimenez from Colorado at the trade deadline in 2011,  thus sending Detroit looking elsewhere for pitching help. The rest is history, but now Pomeranz has a chance to play another role in thwarting the Tigers around trading season.

Besides that subplot, there’s a second consecutive game off for Cameron Maybin, who by all indications Sunday was healthy but just needed a rest. Andrew Romine starts in center at Fenway Park.

Note: I’m not on this series, but I’ll try to keep posting the lineups. Check for stories and such.

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

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Pomeranz)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-1)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. Justin Upton, LF (2-for-5, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  7. Mike Aviles, RF (0-for-0, walk)
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Andrew Romine, CF

P: Justin Verlander

oldredsoxlogoRED SOX (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Mookie Betts, RF (0-for-4, K)
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (1-for-21, walk, 3 K’s)
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (2-for-6, double, 2 K’s)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (11-for-31, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 5 walks, 9 K’s)
  5. Hanley Ramirez, 1B (2-for-5, walk)
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF (0-for-1, walk)
  7. Travis Shaw, 3B (0-for-2, walk, K)
  8. Sandy Leon, C
  9. Brock Holt, LF (2-for-7)

P: Drew Pomeranz

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers at White Sox

Brad Ausmus had wanted to get Cameron Maybin a day off at some point this series. He played in 23 of 24 games, albeit with an All-Star break mixed in, and every game since the break. Andrew Romine gets the start in center. Meanwhile, James McCann makes his first start of the series, getting behind the plate for Anibal Sanchez with lefty Jose Quintana on the mound.

TIGERS (career numbers off Quintana)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (12-for-36, 2 doubles, walk, 5 K’s)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS (4-for-13, double, 4 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (13-for-35, 5 doubles, HR, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (14-for-33, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (9-for-26, walk, 5 K’s)
  6. Justin Upton, LF (2-for-5, double, walk, 2 K’s)
  7. Mike Aviles, RF (10-for-26, walk, K)
  8. James McCann, C (2-for-9, triple, 2 K’s)
  9. Andrew Romine, CF (1-for-2)

P: Anibal Sanchez

WHITE SOX (career numbers against Sanchez)

  1. Adam Eaton, RF (4-for-11, HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  2. Tim Anderson, SS (0-for-1, K)
  3. Melky Cabrera, LF (15-for-31, double, triple, 4 K’s)
  4. Jose Abreu, 1B (6-for-11, 2 doubles, 2 HR, 2 walks, K)
  5. Justin Morneau, DH (6-for-22, 2 doubles, walk, 4 K’s)
  6. Todd Frazier, 3B (1-for-4, 2 K’s)
  7. Dioner Navarro, C (2-for-10, K)
  8. J.B. Shuck, CF (1-for-1, double)
  9. Carlos Sanchez, 2B

P: Jose Quintana

Avila: “It’s not going to be real sexy at the trade deadline”

The last time the Tigers were in Chicago back in early June, Al Avila talked with reporters and laid the scene heading into the trading season. They might not do much of anything at the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline, he said, because of the prospects they want to keep and the payroll they’ve already spent.

With just over a week before the Trade Deadline, Avila spoke again in Chicago. His remarks Saturday sounded much the same. They’re not sellers, but they’re not much of buyers at this point. Standing pat might be the way they go.

“Right now, I would say it’s the most realistic option, sitting here today,” he said, “which is probably what’s best for the team this year and moving forward in the future. It might not be the sexiest thing, but it is what it is.”

Their focus at this point, Avila said, is to get Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris and J.D. Martinez back from the disabled list. That, Avila said, would be their major additions for the stretch run.

“Those are going to be our major acquisitions,” he said. “There’s nobody out there [on the market] better than Jordan Zimmermann if he comes back healthy.”

Part of the reason, Avila said, is financial, given they’re already into luxury tax territory:

“We have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and we put this team together in the wintertime thinking this is the team that’s going to compete and get us into the playoffs, and we’re going to stay that course. And at this point, we don’t really want to trade away our good young prospects for a two-month rental.”

Another problem, and potentially a bigger one, is the cost in terms of prospects, many of which the Tigers want to keep at this point.

“I actually have been in contact with several GMs that have been in sell mode about their pitching,” Avila said, “and the asking price is too high right now. And even if you’re talking about a fifth starter, I’m looking at some teams where we can maybe upgrade. And if you talk to our scouts in our system, the acquisition of the quality of the pitcher in our opinion does not really put us over the top or over the edge that much to say it warrants a big payback in a trade. So right now, nothing has made sense.

“So I have been in contact with several GMs and teams, as have my assistants with their respective colleagues in their fields and nothing has really come up where we feel good that hey we can get this guy, this guy can really be the difference that’s going to take us there. Nothing like that has come up. There has been already conversations for the last two weeks.”

That goes for a lot of the market in general, Avila said.

“You keep on hearing the names of the Yankee relievers, Chapman and Miller and all that,” he continued. “But we’ve been hearing those names since the winter. And nothing’s happened, because the price is high, I’m sure. A lot of talk, I don’t know how much movement there’s going to be. That’s why for us, the best thing is to kind of try to stay away from that. First of all, I don’t even know if we have the amount of guys that are going to be needed, and the quality of guys, because in the past, anytime we’ve talked about any pitcher of any significance, the guys that we’re asked about are the guys we don’t want to trade, in Norris and Fulmer. And that goes all the way back to the wintertime.

“So can you imagine if I would’ve traded Norris and Fulmer back in the wintertime for whoever? Right now, we would’ve not been in this situation. We would’ve been in a bad situation. So that’s what we’re trying to avoid. That’s why we want to keep these guys and move forward in that frame of mind.”

Asked if he sees the Tigers as a championship-caliber team, Avila said,  “I do. And if you talk to most baseball people, they’ll tell you: We have a real good lineup. Now I know we haven’t clicked on all gears throughout the whole season. I know Upton is now having a pretty good July, and hopefully he keeps that going.  Miguel had a bad month but he had a great day [Friday], hopefully he gets rolling. If our team gets rolling to their capabilities, it’s one of the better lineups in baseball.

“Our pitching is the same thing. If you’ve seen our bullpen, when they’re clicking, that’s a pretty good bullpen. Our starting pitchers is the same thing. Jordan Zimmermann was outstanding until he pulled his groin and the neck muscle [strain] came along. So you gotta figure if he comes back healthy and gets back to form, he doesn’t have to pitch as great as he was at the beginning but he just has to go out there and be the regular Jordan Zimmermann. You guys have seen Verlander, he’s been great. Boyd had a great last outing and Fulmer’s been fantastic so this is a team that can compete. This is a team that can get us into the playoffs and we just have to get back to guys that are injured, we’ve gotta stay healthy and we just have to be more consistent and I believe this team has the capabilities of doing that and we have a great manager to lead the way.”

More from Avila …

On right field: “Right field is a huge concern. We brought up Moya. He actually gave us a spark there for the first few weeks. He hit the ball very well. But I think where you saw the biggest drawback was on defense, and that’s why we sent him back to Toledo, not so much because of the hitting but because of the defense. He needed more work there. We needed to take him away from that pressure of the pennant race here to get him back in gear, because really he is not that bad defensively. I’m not saying he’s a Gold Glover by any means and I don’t believe he’s going to be a Gold Glover. But he’s going to be an average defender, and he has been. But I think up here, the pennant race and his youth got to him a little bit. Now we’ve got to get him restarted.”

On Anthony Gose:  “Well, he’s in Erie right now. He’s playing on a regular basis. He’s a talented kid. He can run like the wind. He’s a really good defensive outfielder, in my opinion. The main thing about him is we got to get his bat going. If he gets his bat going, he can fight his way back to the big leagues right from there. …  Everybody has their ups and downs. Sometimes guys, in the heat of the moment, say things that they don’t mean. Sometimes they do things that they regret later on, and they move on from that. They grow, they learn and they mature. It’s a process. No different with Anthony Gose. If you talk with anybody in this clubhouse or in minor league baseball, he’s not a bad guy. He’s a good guy. It’s just that sometimes guys when they don’t perform, the frustration level gets to them and those kind of things sometime happen. We don’t like to see it, but unfortunately they do happen and you just have to deal with them and hopefully he learns from it and grows from it and comes back a better man.”

On Joe Jimenez as a potential late-season option for the bullpen:  “Well, I’ve gotta tell you, I would hope to not have to use him. But I think at the end of the day, if we had to, I can’t rule it out 100 percent. But right now, our preference is to leave him right there and not have to use him up here.”

Friday’s lineups: Tigers at White Sox

Tyler Collins returns to the Tigers starting lineup for the first time since last Sunday. He’s over the neck issues that flared up a couple days ago. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, meanwhile, returns behind the plate to catch Michael Fulmer. The White Sox have two lefties going in the remaining two games of this series with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, but it’ll be interesting to see if Brad Ausmus has James McCann do the quick turnaround from night game to day game, given the hot weather.

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

TIGERS (career numbers off Turner)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Cameron Maybin, CF (1-for-2)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. Justin Upton, LF (3-for-9, 2 HR, 2 walks)
  7. Tyler Collins, RF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Michael Fulmer


  1. Adam Eaton, RF
  2. Tim Anderson, SS
  3. Melky Cabrera, LF
  4. Jose Abreu, 1B
  5. Justin Morneau, DH
  6. Todd Frazier, 3B
  7. J.B. Shuck, CF
  8. Tyler Saladino, 2B
  9. Omar Narvaez, C

P: Jacob Turner


Thursday’s lineups: Tigers at White Sox

Tyler Collins underwent a chiropractic adjustment on his neck after yesterday’s game and was feeling better after neck spasms forced him out of Wednesday’s lineup, but he’s getting one more day to rest. He could be available to hit later. Mike Aviles gets his fourth consecutive start in right field tonight against James Shields. Aviles does have decent numbers off Shields, who has given up slightly better numbers to right-handed hitters for his career.

The White Sox brought back former Tigers nemesis Justin Morneau last week. He’s a career .297 hitter against the Tigers with 23 homers and 95 RBIs in 141 games, essentially a season’s worth of work. But he hasn’t faced Detroit since August 2014, when the Rockies visited Comerica Park.

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

tigerhitterlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Shields)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (13-for-58, 2 doubles, 4 HR, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
  2. Cameron Maybin, CF (5-for-12, walk)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (20-for-57, 9 doubles, 2 HR, 6 walks, 11 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (13-for-47, 4 doubles, HR, 9 K’s)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-13, 4 K’s)
  6. Justin Upton, LF (0-for-2, walk)
  7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (2-for-19, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  8. Mike Aviles, RF (10-for-36, double, 2 HR, walk, 5 K’s)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-6, K)

P: Mike Pelfrey

whitesoxsockWHITE SOX (career numbers against Pelfrey)

  1. Adam Eaton, RF (5-for-12, triple)
  2. Tim Anderson, SS (3-for-4, triple)
  3. Melky Cabrera, LF (8-for-27, 2 doubles, 4 walks, 3 K’s)
  4. Jose Abreu, 1B (4-for-14, double)
  5. Justin Morneau, DH (1-for-3)
  6. Todd Frazier,  3B (2-for-6, 2 walks, K)
  7. Brett Lawrie, 2B (1-for-11, K)
  8. J.B. Shuck, CF (1-for-11)
  9. Dioner Navarro, C (3-for-8, double, walk)

P: James Shields

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

The way Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez have been hitting since the All-Star break, Brad Ausmus said he considered sitting one of them today. Their ninth-inning base hits convinced him to hold off on that.

“It crossed my mind during the game,” Ausmus said, “but they both had good swings last at-bat.”

The one notable day off is Jose Iglesias. Andrew Romine makes just his third start of the month.

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

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Ervin Santana)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (20-for-65, 6 doubles, triple, HR, 5 walks, 5 K’s)
  2. Cameron Maybin, CF (1-for-3)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (6-for-22, HR, 5 walks, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (10-for-31, 2 HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-5, double)
  6. Justin Upton, LF (2-for-5, double, walk, K)
  7. Tyler Collins, RF (3-for-6, 3 doubles, 2 K’s)
  8. James McCann, C (0-for-3, K)
  9. Andrew Romine, SS (1-for-2)

P: Justin Verlander

twinscirclelogoTWINS (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Eduardo Nunez, SS (6-for-15, 2 doubles, HR, 2 K’s)
  2. Joe Mauer, 1B (24-for-71, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 13 walks, 13 K’s)
  3. Miguel Sano, 3B (1-for-6, walk, 3 K’s)
  4. Brian Dozier, 2B (4-for-19, double, 4 walks, 5 K’s)
  5. Max Kepler, RF
  6. Kennys Vargas, DH (1-for-3, K)
  7. Eddie Rosario, LF (2-for-6, 2 K’s)
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C (13-for-39, 2 doubles, walk, 4 K’s)
  9. Byron Buxton, CF

P: Ervin Santana

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

Mike Aviles makes his second consecutive start, this time facing Twins lefty Tommy Milone. James McCann returns to the starting lineup after back-to-back starts for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Miguel Cabrera stays in his usual spot in what should be a good test for him. He’s 8-for-18 with three doubles for his career against Milone, but he’s 10-for-49 with a double and two RBIs over his last 14 games, and he’s batting just .193 (16-for-83) with two doubles and two homers off left-handed pitchers this season.

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

tigerhitterlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Tommy Milone)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (6-for-19, HR, 3 K’s)
  2. Cameron Maybin, CF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (8-for-18, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (5-for-10)
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-4, 2 walks, K)
  6. Justin Upton, LF (1-for-2, walk, K)
  7. Mike Aviles, RF (3-for-11, walk, 2 K’s)
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (2-for-5, HR, K)

P: Anibal Sanchez

tcbearTWINS (career numbers vs. Sanchez)

  1. Eduardo Nunez, SS (3-for-8, double, triple, K)
  2. Robbie Grossman, LF (2-for-3)
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B (6-for-26, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
  4. Brian Dozier, 2B (2-for-20, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  5. Miguel Sano, 3B
  6. Max Kepler, RF
  7. Kennys Vargas, DH (0-for-5, walk, 2 K’s)
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C (3-for-8, walk)
  9. Byron Buxton, CF

P: Tommy Milone


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