Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

Miguel Cabrera returns to the Tigers lineup after being rested for Wednesday’s game to ease the wear and tear on his lower back. Rajai Davis gets the start in left against Mike Pelfrey, whose lefty-righty splits this year are near-even on batting average but about 100 points different in OPS in favor of left-handed hitters. Over the previous few seasons, however, right-handed hitters have fared better against Pelfrey.

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

tigers1957logoTIGERS (career numbers off Pelfrey)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (5-for-12, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-16, 2 doubles, HR, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (6-for-26, 7 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (5-for-23, double, walk, 5 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (3-for-9, double, 5 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-8, HR, walk)
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Andrew Romine, SS (0-for-1, walk)
  9. Rajai Davis, LF (3-for-8, double)

P: Matt Boyd


  1. Aaron Hicks, CF
  2. Brian Dozier, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B
  4. Miguel Sano, DH
  5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
  6. Torii Hunter, RF
  7. Eddie Rosario, LF
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C
  9. Eduardo Escobar, SS

P: Mike Pelfrey

Jim Leyland remembers idol turned friend Yogi Berra

Jim Leyland can let out a good cry, as some of his postseason celebrations showed. But sometimes in the moments of greatest sorrow, he doesn’t want to. When it comes to remembering the late Yogi Berra, who passed away early Wednesday morning at age 90, he’d rather celebrate a life.

“It’s a tough loss,” Leyland said, “but I think about the great times that I had with Yogi, and the most unbelievable thing that I got to know him. He was my childhood hero, and not only did I get to know him, but we became pretty good friends.

“I thought that was a helluva thing that worked out. When I was a kid and bought my first Yogi Berra catching mitt, I never imagined we’d be friends.”

It was an unlikely friendship, a Hall of Fame catcher who will go down as one of the greatest Yankees of all time, and a manager who never played in the big leagues. But once they met during Leyland’s early coaching days, they not only stayed in touch for 30 years, they made a point to visit each other.

Early on in Leyland’s career, they’d talk about managing, Berra recalling his days in charge of the Mets and Yankees, Leyland getting a grasp of managing in the big leagues. But they’d also talk about life, and trade jokes and stories, and share laughs.

“He gave me a lot of advice over the years,” Leyland said. “He didn’t come out and say you’ve gotta do this, you’ve gotta do that. He talked about handling players, the way baseball’s gonna change. He talked about his experiences, the way he did things. And then you put it in your own personality. It was a treat.”

Leyland heard the Yogisms, sure, and he laughed. But he also heard his hero talking about what made him great, an All-Star every year from 1948 to 1962, a three-time AL MVP, a 14-time World Series participant and 10-time champion. And Leyland took it to heart.

“He really in some ways gave hope to all little guys,” Leyland said. “He wasn’t a very big guy. I loved him because I used to ask him questions like, ‘Why you were such a great hitter? What was your philosophy? And he said, ‘I looked for the ball and if I thought I could hit it, I’d swing at it.’ I just appreciated his straightforward approach to the game, nothing too tricky. …

“I think people also have that image of him being a character and the Yogisms and everything, and that’s part of it. But there’s so much more than that. I knew there was so much more there than that. There was a great substance to Yogi, a bright mind talking about baseball, experiences and such.”

And through it all, they bonded.

“When I got to know him, he treated me like I’d been a big-leaguer all my life, like you’d treat a teammate, and I couldn’t get over that,” Leyland said. “He was a left-handed hitting hall of fame catcher, and I was a right-handed hitting, can’t-hit-nothing catcher. I met a lot of great people in baseball, and Yogi was right up there.”

Every time the Tigers headed to New York during Leyland’s time, he’d have a visitor in his office, usually before the first game of the series. That was Yogi. Later, he invited Leyland to the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in New Jersey for dinner. Leyland went back a couple years ago to join Tony La Russa, Joe Girardi and others for a managerial roundtable.

But if there’s one favorite memory of Yogi that sticks with Leyland, it’s from October. It wasn’t Yogi’s postseason, but Leyland’s. When the Tigers had to go back to Yankee Stadium for a winner-take-all Game 5 in the 2011 AL Division Series, having lost a potential clinching Game 4 in Detroit, Yogi was there to see it, just like another series.

“‘May the best team win, kid,’” Leyland remembers him saying. “He congratulated me after that, too. I’ll never forget it.”

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Miguel Cabrera has some lower back issues, so Brad Ausmus decided to give him the day game off. Combined with Thursday’s scheduled off-day, he’ll get two days to rest before Friday night’s game against the Twins to open the final home series of the season. Alex Avila starts at first base, while Ausmus pairs up Gose and Rajai Davis at the top of the order to move Ian Kinsler to the third spot against White Sox rookie Frankie Montas in his first Major League start. Interestingly, Ausmus keeps Victor Martinez in the cleanup spot without any matchup numbers, so that trend might stick.


  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Rajai Davis, LF
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Alex Avila, 1B
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Dixon Machado, SS

P: Justin Verlander

whitesoxlogoWHITE SOX (career numbers off Verlander)

  1. Adam Eaton, DH (5-for-15, 2 doubles, triple, walk, 4 K’s)
  2. Jose Abreu, 1B (8-for-16, double, 2 HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  3. Trayce Thompson, CF
  4. Melky Cabrera, LF (4-for-26, triple, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  5. Avisail Garcia, RF (1-for-6, double, K)
  6. Alexei Ramirez, SS (19-for-75, double, HR, 2 walks, 9 K’s)
  7. Carlos Sanchez, 2B (0-for-3)
  8. Mike Olt, 3B
  9. Geovany Soto, C (1-for-6, HR, walk, 2 K’s)

P: Frankie Montas

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Look for Daniel Norris to get a bit of a higher pitch count tonight compared to his first outing, when he had 45-50 pitches and finished with 47. He’ll supposed get around 60-65 pitches. The starting pitching of Kyle Ryan and Randy Wolf yesterday actually left the bullpen in fairly good shape, at least enough that they shouldn’t have to stretch Norris if they don’t want to.

On the lineup side, Ausmus has flipped Victor and J.D. Martinez back to their previous spots, restoring V-Mart to the cleanup role. He’s 13-for-27 lifetime off Quintana, including 6-for-9 with two doubles this year.

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Jose Quintana)

  1. Rajai Davis, LF (12-for-38, 3 doubles, triple, HR, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (10-for-30, 2 doubles, walk, 5 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (11-for-30, 4 doubles, HR, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (13-for-27, 2 doubles, 2 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (3-for-17, triple, 2 walks, 7 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (6-for-20, walk, 5 K’s)
  7. James McCann, C (1-for-4, triple, 2 K’s)
  8. Dixon Machado, SS
  9. Anthony Gose, CF (0-for-3, K)

P: Daniel Norris

whitesoxlogoWHITE SOX

  1. Adam Eaton, CF
  2. Jose Abreu, 1B
  3. Trayce Thompson, RF
  4. Melky Cabrera, LF
  5. Avisail Garcia, DH
  6. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  7. Carlos Sanchez, 2B
  8. Tyler Flowers, C
  9. Tyler Saladino, 3B

P: Jose Quintana

Game 2 lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Miguel Cabrera returns to the lineup at first base, while Victor Martinez takes the nightcap off, freeing the DH spot for Ian Kinsler. Tyler Collins gets another start in left after going 0-for-3 with a trio of flyouts (one to the right-field track) in Game 1, while Alex Avila gets the start behind the plate, setting up James McCann for a complete day off.

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

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers against Erik Johnson)

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, DH
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (0-for-3, K)
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF
  5. Tyler Collins, LF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-3)
  7. Alex Avila, C (4-for-4, double, walk)
  8. Josh Wilson, 2B (0-for-1, walk)
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

P: Randy Wolf

whitesoxsockWHITE SOX (career numbers off Wolf)

  1. Micah Johnson, 2B
  2. Tyler Saladino, SS
  3. Jose Abreu, DH
  4. Trayce Thompson, LF
  5. Avisail Garcia, RF
  6. Mike Olt, 1B (0-for-3, K)
  7. Gordon Beckham, 3B (1-for-5, double)
  8. Rob Brantly, C
  9. Leury Garcia, CF

P: Erik Johnson

Game 1 lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Miguel Cabrera (2-for-13 off Jeff Samardzija) gets the day game off, as does Nick Castellanos (1-for-12 off Samardzija). J.D. Martinez gets the day game at designated hitter, giving Steven Moya a start in right field.

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

84tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Samardzija)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (5-for-15, walk, 3 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-for-15, double, K)
  3. J.D. Martinez, DH (4-for-19, triple, HR, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (1-for-7, double)
  5. Tyler Collins, LF (3-for-3, triple)
  6. Jefry Marte, 3B
  7. Steven Moya, RF
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Dixon Machado, SS

P: Kyle Ryan

whitesox70slogoWHITE SOX (career numbers off Ryan)

  1. Adam Eaton, CF (1-for-6, K)
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS (2-for-5, double, walk)
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B (2-for-5, double, walk)
  4. Melky Cabrera, DH (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
  5. Trayce Thompson, LF
  6. Avisail Garcia, RF (1-for-6, HR, 2 K’s)
  7. Geovany Soto, C
  8. Mike Olt, 3B
  9. Carlos Sanchez, 2B (1-for-4)

P: Jeff Samardzija

Sunday’s lineup: Tigers vs. Royals

Day off after two walk-off celebrations for Ian Kinsler. Andrew Romine gets the start at second base and bats second. Victor Martinez starts at first base. The Royals give Alex Gordon (mired in an 0-for-15 slump) and Salvador Perez a day off, and give Alcides Escobar an extra day to recover from his left elbow bruise.

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

tigers1957logoTIGERS (career numbers off Kris Medlen)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (3-for-6)
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-1)
  5. Victor Martinez, 1B (1-for-3)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Tyler Collins, LF
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Dixon Machado, SS

P: Alfredo Simon

sluggerrrrROYALS (career numbers against Simon)

  1. Ben Zobrist, 2B (3-for-14, triple, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  2. Lorenzo Cain, CF (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
  3. Eric Hosmer, 1B (3-for-6, 2 doubles, HR, walk, K)
  4. Kendrys Morales, DH (1-for-3, double)
  5. Mike Moustakas, 3B (2-for-6, double)
  6. Alex Rios, RF (0-for-2)
  7. Paulo Orlando, LF
  8. Christian Colon, SS (0-for-2, K)
  9. Drew Butera, C (0-for-3, walk, K)

P: Kris Medlen

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Royals

Nick Castellanos returns to the lineup after missing the previous two starts with left groin tightness. So, too, does Dixon Machado, who had been dealing with left hamstring tightness all week. The Royals, meanwhile, are missing shortstop Alcides Escobar, who left last night’s game with a bruised elbow. Omar Infante’s oblique injury, meanwhile, restores Ben Zobrist to everyday action at second base.

Gameday | TV: Fox Sports 1, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Edinson Volquez)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (4-for-7, double, HR, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (6-for-15, double, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (3-for-5, double, 3 walks)
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-9, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-14, 2 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (3-for-7, double, walk, 2 K’s)
  7. Tyler Collins, LF (2-for-5, 2 doubles, K)
  8. Alex Avila, C (1-for-6, HR, 2 K’s)
  9. Dixon Machado, SS

P: Matt Boyd

royalsbigrlogoROYALS (numbers against Boyd)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF (0-for-0, walk)
  2. Ben Zobrist, 2B (5-for-7, walk, K)
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF (3-for-8, double, HR, 2 K’s)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (3-for-6, double, walk, K)
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH (5-for-7, double, triple)
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B (1-for-6, double)
  7. Jonny Gomes, RF (0-for-1)
  8. Salvador Perez, C (1-for-6, K)
  9. Christian Colon, SS (1-for-1)

P: Edinson Volquez

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Royals

Nick Castellanos (left groin tightness) and Dixon Machado (left hamstring tightness) will get one more day out of the Tigers lineup. Castellanos took grounders with defensive coordinator Matt Martin Friday afternoon and felt better, but manager Brad Ausmus decided to play it cautious. Machado did some infield work during batting practice.

On the Royals side, Lorenzo Cain gets a night off, which isn’t all that bad given that he’s 0-for-7 off Justin Verlander this season and 7-for-27 for his career.

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

tigerslogoTIGERS (numbers off Johnny Cueto)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (4-for-13, triple, 3 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-13, double, triple, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (3-for-6, HR, K)
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF (3-for-13, double, walk, 2 K’s)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-16, walk, 3 K’s)
  6. Tyler Collins, LF (3-for-10, 3 doubles)
  7. Jefry Marte, 3B (2-for-4, walk)
  8. James McCann, C (1-for-7, walk, K)
  9. Andrew Romine, SS (0-for-3, K)

P: Justin Verlander

royalschampionslogoROYALS (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF (17-for-79, 5 doubles, 2 HR, 10 walks, 28 K’s)
  2. Mike Moustakas, 3B (10-for-53, HR, walk, 11 K’s)
  3. Kendrys Morales, DH (11-for-30, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 7 K’s)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (17-for-65, 5 doubles, triple, HR, 4 walks, 11 K’s)
  5. Salvador Perez, C (20-for-41, 7 doubles, 2 HR, 6 K’s)
  6. Alex Rios, RF (17-for-46, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 4 walks, 10 K’s)
  7. Omar Infante, 2B (4-for-25, double, HR, walk, K)
  8. Paulo Orlando, CF
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS (12-for-63, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 5 K’s)

P: Johnny Cueto

Cabrera defends Ausmus, talks deadline deals, wonders what if

Miguel Cabrera spent the last two Septembers playing through injuries in a push for a Tigers berth in the postseason. He has no postseason spot for which to push this September, and that hurts worse.

Cabrera finished off a batting title and an MVP season two years ago through a groin tear, and he hit .379 over the final month last year despite a stress fracture in his foot. The left calf strain he suffered this summer seems mild by comparison, but the last-place division standing does not.

He’s pushing, trying to finish off his fourth batting title in five years. But it’s getting tough, and his .189 average (10-for-53) this month shows it. He hasn’t been out of the playoff chase at this point since 2010, and he hasn’t had a losing season in Detroit since 2008, his first as a Tiger.

It’s no fun for the fans, and he knows it. It’s no fun for him, either, no matter how much he smiles when he’s on the field.

“The past two or three weeks, no. It’s no fun at all,” he said as he sat at his locker Wednesday afternoon, before a pinch-hit strikeout Wednesday night extended his hitless streak to 0-for-20. “It’s hard, man, when you lose a lot of games and all the stuff happens this year. It’s kind of hard, but we need to keep pushing,”

The stuff to which he referred included injuries up and down the roster, including himself. It included a buy/sell debate leading up to the July nonwaiver Trade Deadline, the deadline deals that sent out David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria, the dismissal of the general manager who put together those deals just a few days earlier, and now the managerial limbo of Brad Ausmus.

Cabrera watches Price and Cespedes star on their new teams, headed towards October baseball, and he’s happy for them. But he also wonders what might have been.

“You have to be happy for them,” he said. “Those are guys you’ve gotta want to see here if we were in the playoff race. You’ve gotta think how fun it is with these two guys, if this team’s together, how good we can be. It’s a big difference.”

Cabrera was still on the DL when the trades happened. Verlander was back, but was just beginning to round into form. Martinez was back, but starting his second-half struggles. Add in pitching struggles, and the midseason move back into contention to convince management to make deals never happened.

“I think if we were healthy, I think we’d be in the race right now,” Cabrera said. “I don’t know if we could be in the playoffs or first place, but I think we could be in good shape to make a run. Because with these three guys we traded, I think we’d have a good chance if we were together. But it was a hard decision. They made some trades, and we don’t have anything to think about.”

They still stayed on the fringe of contention for a few weeks until that three-game sweep in Toronto in which everything went wrong.

“Yeah, it was kind of tough,” Cabrera said.

Ironically, the series that essentially sank the Tigers’ season was the same series that gave Cabrera the plate appearances he needed to qualify for the batting race. At the time, he said it didn’t matter. He doesn’t dismiss it the same way these days, but he admits it’s conflicting for him.

“It’s over there,” he said, to the side, “but it’s hard when you’re losing games. It’s hard to focus on what you want and what the team wants, because if the team’s not doing good, you know you’re not going to do good. But hopefully we finish strong and make something happen.”

That focus isn’t helped by the speculation surrounding Ausmus, whose situation will be evaluated at season’s end according to GM Al Avila. When a Fire Ausmus sign was on display in Chicago, Cabrera reportedly signed a ball for a fan to get the sign from him. He couldn’t do that last week in Cleveland with reports of Ausmus’ season-end dismissal.

“We’re over there and see what’s in the paper,” Cabrera said, “and some fan comes to you, ‘Oh, the manager’s fired. Oh, you guys stink.’ Man, it’s kind of like, ‘This is not happening right now.’ It’s kind of hard to go to the stadium when some fan in Chicago and Cleveland tells you that. It gets you right here [heart] and right here [head].”

Asked how much he takes that personally, he said, “A lot, because it’s not his fault. So why are you going to blame a guy like that? Why do people say you’ve got to fire him?

“We got a lot of injuries this year. We didn’t come together this year. I think that’s one of the big reasons. I always say, man, if we’re healthy, we can push harder. But this year, we got a lot of key players out for one month, two months. With that, there’s no way you’re going to win, because we need everybody here. It’s not about one player. We’ve got a lot of guys here with big numbers and we don’t go anywhere. It’s not about numbers or stats. It’s about winning games.”


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