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Roster fallout from 19 innings in Toronto

Just arrived in Pittsburgh, and it appears half the Mud Hens bullpen might not be far behind.

The Tigers left Toronto Sunday night with two open roster spots from their Sunday morning DL moves — more on that in a minute — so there figured to be at least two relievers coming to the Tigers’ aid after their 19-inning loss to the Blue Jays. However, John Wagner of the Toledo Blade reports that three relievers were being called up from Triple-A Toledo after the Hens game Sunday night.

Lefty Ian Krol and right-hander Justin Miller are rejoining the Tigers, according to Wagner. Krol just got there a week and a half ago, ironically to get more regular work. Miller spent a couple different stints in Detroit from mid-April to mid-May, regrouped in Toledo and posted very good numbers in late-inning work, including a 1.45 ERA and 23 hits over 37 1/3 innings.

The third reliever, according to Wagner, is minor-league veteran Kevin Whelan, who rejoined the organization this year after being traded to the Yankees in 2006 as a prospect in the Gary Sheffield deal. He has 20 saves for the Hens, having allowed eight runs on 26 hits over 39 innings with 48 strikeouts.

Miller and Krol can simply fill the spots of injured Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria. Whelan not only needs a 40-man roster opening (they’re out of long-term injuries to put on the 60-day DL), but three call-ups mean somebody on the current roster would have to be sent down. The logical answer would be one of the relievers who pitched long Sunday and won’t be available for a few days (Blaine Hardy and Pat McCoy both pitched three innings).

If all three are called up at the same time, that gives Detroit at least three relievers available to pitch Monday night. Al Alburquerque, who pitched an inning-plus in two appearances over three games in Toronto, likely makes four. Joba Chamberlain could make five, but he has pitched each of the last two games.

One reliever, either one of these call-ups or somebody else, will likely have to make way for Robbie Ray to be called up for his start in Sanchez’s spot. He’s currently scheduled to start Wednesday. Rick Porcello’s two-plus innings, however, put his Tuesday start in question.

If Porcello starts Tuesday as previously planned or bounces back with an extra day of rest, then the Tigers won’t need to call up another reliever from Toledo. If not, the Tigers likely will have to make yet another move to add a starting pitcher.

The lingering question, and the irony of it all, is going to be how much of this roster shuffle could have been avoided had the Tigers gotten a reliever from Toledo to fill one of the DL spots in time for Sunday’s game. Officially, Detroit made the DL moves Sunday morning, and manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday it was nearly impossible to get a call-up to Toronto in time for the game. Whether the Tigers could have or should have had a call-up ready to move in case is an interesting debate.

“We didn’t think we could get them here,” Ausmus said. “Of course, if we knew we had til 7 o’clock, maybe we would have.”

Tigers place Sanchez, Soria on 15-day DL

The Tigers are going to have to get through arguably the toughest stretch in their schedule without Anibal Sanchez and Joakim Soria. The Tigers placed both right-handers on the 15-day disabled list Sunday morning — Sanchez for a Grade 2 right pectoral muscle strain, Soria with a left oblique strain.

President/GM Dave Dombrowski said the timetable is relatively flexible on Sanchez, depending on how quickly the pectoralis major muscle heals. However, Dombrowski said he anticipates Sanchez missing 3-4 weeks.

As for Soria, Dombrowski said he’s likely out 2-3 weeks. Given how long oblique injuries can last, however, that’s an anticipation.

Robbie Ray will fill Sanchez’s rotation spot beginning Wednesday night against the Pirates at Comerica Park. The Tigers won’t make a roster move until Monday to fill Soria’s spot, possibly with Ian Krol’s return, possibly with righty Justin Miller, possibly even with Kevin Whelan. Two of those guys could get called up Monday, with one filling Sanchez’s spot until Ray joins the team Wednesday.

As for Jim Johnson, it sounds like the plan for him remains to have him go through his build-up at Triple-A Toledo before being considered for a call-up. He’s slated to throw for the Mud Hens today before pitching two innings on Wednesday.

With neither Sanchez nor Soria out for the season at this point, Dombrowski downplayed the possibility of filling either spot with a trade acquisition.

“We’re planning on filling the spots internally,” he said.

Max Scherzer smelled the line of questioning as soon as he was asked whether Brad Ausmus had talked with him before telling him he was done after eight innings.

“I was done,” he said. “I mean, there’s nothing else to it. I was done. I’m not going to sit here and play second-guessing the manager. I was done.”

He had done his job to carry the game to the ninth inning with the Tigers ahead. From there, it was on to the bullpen. Every pitcher, he indicated, has their role, an answer that sounded Leyland-like. That’s how a pitching staff works.

“Whoever pitches needs to go out there and do their job,” Scherzer said when asked about what the bullpen faces if Joakim Soria is injured. “We prepare hard, we work hard. Whoever’s number is called needs to come in there and do their job. Whoever’s number is called, that’s your opportunity, and you have to go out there and do your job. Doesn’t matter who it is.”

No pitcher’s job, not even lefty Phil Coke’s job, has received as much scrutiny this year as Joe Nathan’s job, something he has pointed out from time to time this summer. He went from early-season struggles to a period of security to midseason panic to a month of relatively stability to two shaky days here.

“This isn’t a job where you’re going to be perfect all the time,” Nathan said. “I think sometimes look at it like we better be perfect. That’s not always realistic. I came out of the gate slower than I wanted to, so you want to go out and take care of business as much as you can, especially when we’re in August. But I also have to be true to myself and know that I’m throwing the ball well right now just keep the groove going.”

At the same time, he acknowledged, he can’t let a leadoff batter like Jose Reyes get on base in the ninth and run himself into position to score without a hit.

“I got myself in a position where you’ve got to be fine,” he said. “You’re looking for a ground ball.”

He has been a lot of things over the course of the season. He has not frequently been fine.

Nathan gave up the tying run, two hits and two walks before giving way to Joakim Soria with one out and the potential winning run at third base. Yet it might have been the out that doomed him. 

Melky Cabrera’s fly ball to right was the most solidly-hit ball off Nathan, whose two singles were both ground balls. Cabrera’s fly out was deep, so much so that right fielder Torii Hunter didn’t even deke like he had a play at keeping Reyes from taking third base. He was from first to third without a base hit thanks to a stolen base and the fly out, and he left Nathan having to protect against the sac fly as the middle of the Blue Jays order.

Instead of needing a base hit to score Reyes, all Jose Bautista needed to do was loft the ball with a semblance of authority. So Ausmus opted to walk Bautista and try to set up the double play for Dioner Navarro, slow-footed but batting .285 off right-handed pitching. 

Nathan needed a ground-ball double play. He got a ground ball. He did not get the ground ball.

“It’s the right play,” Nathan said of the walk. “You set up the double play, you’ve got the catcher coming up, so if you can get a ground ball to somebody you’ve got a good chance of turning it. Unfortunately it was about three or four feet too far to the hole and it got through there.”

It was Nathan’s first blown save since June 21, and his first run charged to him since July 19. However, he faced the kind of jam that might have yielded both Friday night if not for Rajai Davis’ game-ending, sliding catch. He has yielded multiple baserunners in three of four outings this month, including seven baserunners the past two nights. His first batters in an outing are 10-for-43 with two walks and 10 strikeouts against him, neither stingy nor disastrous.

“I felt good, very confident going out there,” Nathan said. “I’ve been able to kind of take myself out of situations, not so much worry about the score and just go out and pitch. I felt like I did that today. I was in a tight spot with very good hitters, but again, I pitched my game.”

Asked about Nathan’s status, Ausmus said, “Joe’s the closer. Recently he’s done very well closing games for us.”

If Soria is out for any length of time, the question is moot. Even if he isn’t, a closer change probably isn’t going to happen. Whether Ausmus stretches his starters further might be another question, though he had no question about his decision on that Saturday.

“Max is very aware of what his pitch count is and how he feels and what he has left,” Ausmus said. “He’s very honest with me and with Jeff Jones with how he’s doing physically. We’ve seen him pitch. We have a couple guys on our staff you can tell when they really kind of empty the tank, and the way they pitch speaks more than what they actually say.”

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

Toronto 005

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

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