Two notable absences from Detroit’s day-game lineup: Cameron Maybin is out with a sprained left thumb suffered in Wednesday’s win, and Victor Martinez is a late scratch for what the Tigers are calling an extra day of rest. No word whether the scratch was related to that foul ball he took off his foot last night that had him limping around, or the slide into home plate. Martinez was originally in the lineup, then lifted, causing a shuffle that sent Andrew Romine from center field to first base. Maybin is considered day-to-day.
On the White Sox side, Adam Eaton is batting third today for the first time in his Major League career. Tim Anderson and Melky Cabrera move up in the order.
TIGERS (career numbers off Jose Quintana)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (12-for-39, 2 doubles, walk, 5 K’s)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (5-for-16, 2 doubles, 4 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, DH (13-for-37, 5 doubles, HR, 5 walks, 6 K’s)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (9-for-29, walk, 6 K’s)
- J.D. Martinez, RF (6-for-22, triple, 3 walks, 8 K’s)
- Justin Upton, LF (3-for-8, double, walk, 2 K’s)
- Tyler Collins, CF
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (0-for-2, K)
- Andrew Romine, 1B (1-for-4)
P: Jordan Zimmermann
WHITE SOX (career numbers off Zimmermann)
- Tim Anderson, SS (2-for-4, 2 doubles)
- Melky Cabrera, LF (1-for-8, double, 2 K’s)
- Adam Eaton, CF (2-for-7, triple)
- Jose Abreu, 1B (2-for-5, double)
- Justin Morneau, DH (2-for-6, K)
- Todd Frazier, 3B (2-for-10, walk, 4 K’s)
- Avisail Garcia, RF (3-for-5, K)
- Omar Narvaez, C
- Tyler Saladino, 2B (1-for-6)
P: Jose Quintana
J.D. Martinez is back on the active roster, but he’s not in the Tigers lineup just yet. Essentially, the plan remains to get Martinezback into the lineup Thursday, but Mike Pelfrey’s back injury led to him returning a day early. Mike Aviles gets the start in right field against Chris Sale, who barring anything else crazy will pitch tonight.
The White Sox recalled J.B. Shuck from Triple-A Charlotte with Charlie Tilson placed on the 15-day DL, but Adam Eaton gets the start in center field, with former Tiger Avisail Garcia in right against Michael Fulmer after hitting two home runs in the later innings Tuesday night.
TIGERS (career numbers off Sale)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (7-for-34, double, 2 HR, 5 walks, 7 K’s)
- Cameron Maybin, CF (2-for-7)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (9-for-38, 2 HR, 10 walks, 13 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (18-for-36, 3 doubles, 4 HR, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-22, walk, 10 K’s)
- Justin Upton, LF (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
- Mike Aviles, RF (7-for-37, HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
- James McCann, C (3-for-13, double, walk, 5 K’s)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (7-for-17, double, HR, K)
P: Michael Fulmer
WHITE SOX (career numbers vs. Fulmer)
- Adam Eaton, CF (0-for-2, walk, K)
- Tim Anderson, SS (0-for-3)
- Melky Cabrera, LF (2-for-3, double, K)
- Jose Abreu, 1B (2-for-2, double, walk)
- Justin Morneau, DH (1-for-2, HR)
- Todd Frazier, 3B (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
- Avisail Garcia, RF
- Dioner Navarro, C
- Tyler Saladino, 2B (0-for-2)
P: Chris Sale
Nick Castellanos gets the day off for Tuesday’s series opener. He’s 1-for-16 with six strikeouts against James Shields. Andrew Romine is 1-for-8 with two strikeouts off Shields, but with lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana coming up Wednesday and Thursday, Romine’s best fit for a spot start was tonight.
The White Sox swapped outfielders on their roster, calling up just-acquired Charlie Tilson to take the place of just-optioned J.B. Shuck. Tilson, acquired from the Cardinals for Zach Duke, makes his Major League debut, batting eighth and starting in center field. He was batting .282 at Memphis with 16 doubles, eight triples, four homers and 34 RBIs.
TIGERS (career numbers off Shields)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (16-for-61, 2 doubles, 5 HR, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
- Cameron Maybin, CF (5-for-15, walk)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (22-for-60, 9 doubles, 3 HR, 6 walks, 11 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (14-for-49, 4 doubles, HR, walk, 9 K’s)
- Justin Upton, LF (0-for-5, walk, K)
- Tyler Collins, RF (1-for-1)
- James McCann, C
- Andrew Romine, 3B (1-for-8, 2 K’s)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (2-for-8, K)
P: Anibal Sanchez
WHITE SOX (career numbers vs. Sanchez)
- Adam Eaton, RF (6-for-14, 2 HR, walk, 5 K’s)
- Tim Anderson, SS (2-for-4, 2 K’s)
- Melky Cabrera, LF (15-for-34, double, triple, 5 K’s)
- Jose Abreu, 1B (8-for-14, 2 doubles, 2 HR, 2 walks, K)
- Justin Morneau, DH (7-for-25, 2 doubles, walk, 4 K’s)
- Todd Frazier, 3B (1-for-7, 4 K’s)
- Dioner Navarro, C (4-for-13, K)
- Charlie Tilson, CF
- Tyler Saladino, 2B
P: James Shields
The catching rotation turns back to James McCann tonight against Mike Fiers, who has allowed 13 runs over 14 innings in his last three starts but has been the beneficiary of 26 runs’ worth of support. He allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-4 win over the Tigers on April 17 in Houston.
Alex Bregman continues his quest for his first Major League hit. He’s 0-for-13 since being called up for his big-league debut on Monday.
TIGERS (career numbers on Fiers)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (2-for-8, HR, walk, K)
- Cameron Maybin, CF (3-for-9, double, HR, K)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2-for-8, double, triple, walk, K)
- Victor Martinez, DH (2-for-9)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-5, 2 K’s)
- Justin Upton, LF (0-for-4, 2 walks, K)
- Tyler Collins, RF (2-for-3, double)
- James McCann, C (1-for-2)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-6, walk)
P: Justin Verlander
ASTROS (career numbers vs. Verlander)
- George Springer, RF (4-for-6, HR, 2 K’s)
- Preston Tucker, DH (1-for-6, K)
- Jose Altuve, 2B (4-for-8, double, walk)
- Carlos Correa, SS (1-for-3, 3 walks, K)
- Colby Rasmus, LF (2-for-14, double, 2 walks, K)
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Tyler White, 1B (1-for-3, HR, K)
- Jason Castro, C (0-for-9, walk, 6 K’s)
- Jake Marisnick, CF
P: Mike Fiers
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.
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.
TIGERS (career numbers off Collin McHugh)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-10, K)
- Cameron Maybin, CF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (4-for-8, 2 doubles, walk, 2 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-6, double)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (4-for-9, double)
- Justin Upton, LF (1-for-8, HR, K)
- Tyler Collins, RF (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (2-for-3, double, HR, K)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (4-for-8, double, K)
P: Matt Boyd
ASTROS (career numbers vs. Boyd)
- George Springer, RF
- Marwin Gonzalez, 1B (2-for-3, triple)
- Jose Altuve, 2B (1-for-3)
- Carlos Correa, SS (1-for-2, walk, K)
- Evan Gattis, C (0-for-3, K)
- Colby Rasmus, LF (2-for-2, 2 HR)
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Tyler White, DH
- Jake Marisnick, CF (0-for-2, K)
P: Collin McHugh
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).
TIGERS (career numbers off Wright)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-2, walk, K)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-2, double)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-2)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-2, double)
- Justin Upton, LF
- Mike Aviles, RF
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
- Tyler Collins, CF
P: Mike Pelfrey
RED SOX (career numbers vs. Pelfrey)
- Mookie Betts, RF (2-for-6)
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B (3-for-9, 2 K’s)
- Xander Bogaerts, SS (2-for-6, double, K)
- David Ortiz, DH (1-for-8, double, walk, K)
- Hanley Ramirez, 1B (10-for-53, HR, 4 walks, 8 K’s)
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
- Travis Shaw, 3B
Ryan Hanigan, CSandy Leon, C (2-for-4, walk)
- Brock Holt, LF
P: Steven Wright
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 MLB.com for stories and such.
TIGERS (career numbers off Pomeranz)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-1)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- Justin Upton, LF (2-for-5, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
- Mike Aviles, RF (0-for-0, walk)
- James McCann, C
- Andrew Romine, CF
P: Justin Verlander
RED SOX (career numbers vs. Verlander)
- Mookie Betts, RF (0-for-4, K)
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B (1-for-21, walk, 3 K’s)
- Xander Bogaerts, SS (2-for-6, double, 2 K’s)
- David Ortiz, DH (11-for-31, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 5 walks, 9 K’s)
- Hanley Ramirez, 1B (2-for-5, walk)
- Jackie Bradley Jr., CF (0-for-1, walk)
- Travis Shaw, 3B (0-for-2, walk, K)
- Sandy Leon, C
- Brock Holt, LF (2-for-7)
P: Drew Pomeranz
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)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (12-for-36, 2 doubles, walk, 5 K’s)
- Jose Iglesias, SS (4-for-13, double, 4 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (13-for-35, 5 doubles, HR, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (14-for-33, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B (9-for-26, walk, 5 K’s)
- Justin Upton, LF (2-for-5, double, walk, 2 K’s)
- Mike Aviles, RF (10-for-26, walk, K)
- James McCann, C (2-for-9, triple, 2 K’s)
- Andrew Romine, CF (1-for-2)
P: Anibal Sanchez
WHITE SOX (career numbers against Sanchez)
- Adam Eaton, RF (4-for-11, HR, walk, 4 K’s)
- Tim Anderson, SS (0-for-1, K)
- Melky Cabrera, LF (15-for-31, double, triple, 4 K’s)
- Jose Abreu, 1B (6-for-11, 2 doubles, 2 HR, 2 walks, K)
- Justin Morneau, DH (6-for-22, 2 doubles, walk, 4 K’s)
- Todd Frazier, 3B (1-for-4, 2 K’s)
- Dioner Navarro, C (2-for-10, K)
- J.B. Shuck, CF (1-for-1, double)
- Carlos Sanchez, 2B
P: Jose Quintana
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.”