Game 40: Anibal Sanchez’s home runs by the numbers

Anibal Sanchez has given up three home runs before. He did it last month in Pittsburgh, in fact. He had never given up three homers in an inning.

On Tuesday, he gave up home runs to three consecutive batters, nine pitches apart.

“Today is one of those days when everything happens so fast, you don’t realize what happened,” he said afterwards.

The home-run trend this season, by contrast, has been long developing, though it seemed to be done until Tuesday. He gave up seven home runs in Spring Training, then five homers in a two-start span in mid-April. He then gave up only one home run over his previous five outings.

Now, here are the numbers he’s looking at:

  • His nine home runs allowed this season match his total from 2013, the year he won the American League ERA title. He’s also nearly halfway to his career-high of 20 homers allowed in 2011 and 2012.
  • His six home runs at Comerica Park have him on track to threaten the single-season record of 16, set by Jason Johnson in 2004 and matched by Armando Galarraga in 2008.
  • His two three-homer games are one off the Tigers season high in the Comerica Park era, last accomplished by Max Scherzer in 2011. Others to do it include Hideo Nomo in 2000, Dave Mlicki and Jose Lima in 2001, Nate Robertson in 2006, Mike Maroth in 2007 and Galarraga in 2008.

Brad Ausmus believes at least part of the problem is leaving pitches up when he’s out of the stretch. Still, five of the nine homers he has allowed have been solo shots.

“It’s been clearly something that is uncharacteristic for Sanchie,” Ausmus said. “The long ball wasn’t an issue last year, but this year has been a little bit of a different story. Now, we’ve also seen some outstanding starts from Sanchie, but when he doesn’t have his command down in the zone, his offspeed pitches especially, that’s when they hit him.”

His next start will further the challenge. The Astros lead the Majors in home runs with 57.

“Everything I need to fix, I will do,” Sanchez said. “Everything I need to make me strong for the next one, I’ll do. I’m not going to stop today, I’m not going to stop tomorrow, I’m going to continue working. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I know in the season, it’s early now, but whatever I have to do to go to the mound like I used to, I’ll do.”

Ausmus: Tigers met with V-Mart postgame for DL move

The decision to put Victor Martinez on the 15-day disabled list, Brad Ausmus said, came out of a postgame meeting Monday night that included Tigers brass, including owner Mike Ilitch. It also included Victor Martinez, who pleaded his case to avoid the DL.

The decision, however, had already been made.

“He was upset,” Ausmus said. “He wasn’t upset in an angry way; he was upset because he didn’t want to go on the DL. He’s got a warrior mentality, and he fully wanted to show he teammates that he could play through pain, but I think it finally came to the realization to him that it was more than just pain — it was an injury that had to be taken care of. …

“As emotional as it was, Victor, he’s a good person, so I think he understood it. He didn’t want to have to go on the disabled list, but I think deep down he understands why.”

When Ausmus got the managerial job a year and a half, he talked about the difficulty of cutting players and dashing players. This didn’t compare quite like that, but it wasn’t easy either.

“It was difficult. And it wasn’t a short conversation. We spoke for while. Sometimes you’ve got to. I’ve got kids, and sometimes you’ve got to give them bad news. Victor’s obviously not my kid, he’s much too old, but he’s a great person, and I care about him. It’s hard to give good people bad news, news they don’t want to hear.”

Asked if Ilitch had anything to say, Ausmus said, “I would keep any conversation with Mr. Ilitch to myself.”

Here’s what else we know coming out of Ausmus’ pregame session Tuesday:

  • Martinez aggravated the injury at the top of his left knee – not the meniscus area, but above it – against Kansas City at the start of the last homestand. He was coming off an encouraging series in Chicago before that. From that point on, his at-bats seemed to regress. “We kept seeing signs that he was getting better, and still being able to play,” Ausmus said. “By the end of the game last night, we just felt like we’ve slid too far backwards, and he needed to be off the field,” Ausmus said.
  • When Martinez had four days out of the lineup, he had a cortisone shot in his knee. Monday was the test to see if it made a difference. “Watch the video, he ran as well as he has run all year down that line,” Ausmus said. “It’s just when he hit the bag, it grabbed him just similarly to the way when he jumped out of the way of certain pitches. He’s probably no worse today than he’s been on any other day. It just looked bad after he hit the bag.”

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Brewers

Just recalled Tyler Collins gets the first start in the post-VMart lineup against Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who’s allowing a .205 (18-for-88) average to right-handed hitters this season compared to .270 (17-for-63) against left-handed batters. Bryan Holaday, meanwhile, catches Anbal Sanchez again after his eight innings of one-run ball last Thursday against the Twins.

The Brewers, meanwhile, bring in Gerardo Parra, who had Sanchez’s numbers when Sanchez was in Miami.

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Tyler Collins, DH
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Anibal Sanchez

swingingbrewerlogoBREWERS (career numbers off Anibal Sanchez)

  1. Carlos Gomez, CF (2-for-3)
  2. Gerardo Perra, RF (8-for-14, 2 doubles, 2 K’s)
  3. Ryan Braun, DH (3-for-7, walk, K)
  4. Adam Lind, 1B (0-for-3)
  5. Aramis Ramirez, 3B (2-for-9, 2 doubles, 2 K’s)
  6. Khris Davis, LF
  7. Luis Sardinas, SS
  8. Hector Gomez, 2B
  9. Martin Maldonado, C (0-for-2)

P: Jimmy Nelson

V-Mart to DL, Collins recalled from Toledo (updated)

The Tigers didn’t waste time with their other options regarding Victor Martinez. The team placed their All-Star designated hitter on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation Tuesday afternoon and recalled outfielder Tyler Collins from Triple-A Toledo.

The move comes on the heels of a postgame meeting Monday night between manager Brad Ausmus, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski and other top Tigers officials to discuss Martinez, who went 0-for-4 with no balls hit out of the infield Monday night after resting his left knee for the better part of four games. Martinez also seemed to tweak his knee when he took a hard step on first base trying to beat out an eighth-inning double play.

“From the looks of things, I think we’re going to have to at least talk about other options,” Ausmus said in his postgame press conference before the meeting. “But we’ll do that privately.”

The Tigers have operated for a month and a half under the belief that a DL stint would do little to improve Martinez’s left knee, which underwent surgery in February to trim part of the meniscus that had torn during offseason workouts. His continued struggles, however, forced them to reconsider, starting with last week’s four-day break from the starting lineup.

While Martinez said he felt a difference running on Monday, a sentiment echoed by Ausmus, the difference meant little with the bat. The switch-hitting Martinez fell to 12-for-85 batting left-handed with Monday’s performance, after which he reiterated that he doesn’t feel comfortable enough batting right-handed against right-handed pitchers.

That leaves Martinez likely facing a longer stint than the minimum 15 days, involving more rehab than rest. At this point, however, the Tigers couldn’t go on longer with the struggles. Last year’s AL MVP runner-up is batting .216 (24-for-111) with three doubles, a home run and 15 RBIs.

The Tigers have several left-handed hitters available at Toledo, but Collins has the most Major League experience. The left-handed hitter, who turns 25 on June 6, hit .248 (28-for-113) for the Mud Hens with six doubles, no home runs, nine RBIs 15 walks, 24 strikeouts and a .639 OPS. He’s 10-for-48 with five walks and 14 strikeouts in May. Collins has fared much better against right-handers, batting .316 (24-for-76) with all of six of his doubles, 14 walks, 13 strikeouts and an .825 OPS.

If the Tigers set up a platoon with Rajai Davis, those splits would play. Fellow Mud Hens outfielder Daniel Fields actually has stronger numbers off righties, batting .321 (25-for-78) with three doubles, two homers and a 1.032 OPS, but also has 28 strikeouts against righties to go with 20 walks.

Still, Collins is not guaranteed regular playing time. The Tigers have turned to Davis against right-handers frequently, including everyday play in stretches last season, and could do so again. Even so, Collins at least gives the Tigers an impact bat on the bench that they’ve frequently lacked.

Game 39: Next idea on Victor Martinez

Decision time might be coming on Victor Martinez. What the decision involves is another question.

“From the looks of things, I think we’re going to have to at least talk about other options,” Ausmus said of Martinez’s 0-for-4 performance in Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Brewers. But we’ll do that privately.”

Asked if the disabled list is a consideration, Ausmus said, “We’ll talk privately.”

The question at Ausmus’ postgame presser was pretty open, whether the manager had considered any other options on what to do with Martinez. His four days out of the lineup seemed to produce no different results with the bat than playing every day had over the past month-plus. Three groundouts and an infield pop-up dropped him to 12-for-84 batting left-handed, and dropped his spirits further.

“The year I came back in 2013 after missing the whole 2012, it took a lot of time,” Martinez said. “It took pretty much almost through the All-Star break. I don’t know. The only thing I can control, that I can do is just keep battling and keep working hard and see what happens.”

Martinez batted .221 in the first month that year, .235 in May and .240 in June. His splits didn’t turn until July, when he hit .390.

He had an entire season to rehab leading up to 2013. He had this year’s surgery in February. Asked if it feels worse now than it did in 2013, Martinez said yes.

Asked if he’s getting to the point where it’s difficult to tell if he’s helping or hurting his team, Martinez paused.

“I don’t know,” he said thoughtfully. “That’s a good question. Good question.”

He’s open to dropping in the batting order, open to most anything except batting right-handed against right-handed pitching. His answer on the latter remains consistent.

“I mean, obviously the numbers say whatever,” Martinez said. “It is what it is. Something that I’m never going to do and I have never done is just going out there and go righty on righty. …

“I have never done it. Honestly, I don’t know how I”m going to react when the pitcher throws the ball. I might get out of the way. I’ve never done it before.”

It could be that which puts the Tigers in a bind. There’s no sense trying to force him to bat right-handed against righties if he has no belief at all that he can. No player can work that way. At the same time, there’s no sense continuing to have him bat left-handed if he doesn’t feel it’s leading to progress.

“I’ve said this before: He started to turn the corner that last road trip — Kansas City, Chicago,” Ausmus said. “And then we came back home and he didn’t look as good, so we gave him three days in St. Louis, hoping that would help. Today, it didn’t look like he was hurt swinging, but he looked like he aggravated it when he was running. Quite frankly, he got down the line pretty good.”

At this point, the Tigers have a choice to make, whether there’s reason to believe the at-bats now will help him in July and August. If they won’t, they either need somebody to complement him from the left side and allow them to manage his at-bats for favorable situations, or they need to determine if a DL stint would make any difference at this point, and how long that might require.

Something, however, seems to be on the horizon.

Monday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Brewers

  
Victor Martinez is back in the Tigers starting lineup tonight after getting the vast majority of the weekend series in St. Louis off. Yoenis Cespedes, however, is off for the first time this season, with Rajai Davis starting in his place. Other than that, it’s a regular lineup for the Tigers tonight after getting in late from St. Louis following the Sunday night game.

On the Brewers side, Carlos Gomez is in the lineup tonight after getting hit in the head by a Noah Syndergaard fastball Sunday in New York. Milwaukee needs all the help it can get; the team enters tonight batting just .195 against left-handed pitching heading into Lobstein Night. Only the Red Sox (.193) hit lefties for a lower average.

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

tigerslogoTIGERS

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

P: Kyle Lobstein

brewersmlogoBREWERS

  1. Carlos Gomez, CF
  2. Khris Davis, LF
  3. Ryan Braun, RF
  4. Aramis Ramirez, DH
  5. Jason Rogers, 1B
  6. Elian Herrera, 3B
  7. Luis Sardinas, SS
  8. Hector Gomez, 2B
  9. Martin Maldonado, C

P: Mike Fiers

Miguel Cabrera’s 400 homers by the numbers

The home-run log at baseball-reference is a tremendous resource when anyone comes up on a milestone home run. In the case of Miguel Cabrera’s 400 career home runs, it’s a treasure trove of trivia, statistics and trivial statistics. You know about the ratio of Tigers homers (262) to Marlins homers (138), but among the tidbits:

  • Cabrera has hit home runs off 278 different Major League pitchers. Bruce Chen and Phil Hughes top the list, having surrendered five each.
  • Just over half — and by that, I mean one home run more than half — of Cabrera’s 262 homers as a Tigers have come at Comerica Park. By contrast, less than half of Cabrera’s home runs as a Marlin — 65 of 138 — came at Dolphin Stadium. In all, Cabrera has hit more homers on the road (203) than at home (197).
  • The only other Major League park to host at least 15 of Cabrera’s home runs is Cleveland’s Progressive Field, which has seen 23.
  • Cabrera has homered in 37 different ballparks. One current park he has not homered out of is the new Marlins Park. In fairness, he had a groin tear in his only series there at the end of the 2013 regular season.
  • The Indians (38), Twins (35), White Sox (25) and Royals (22) top the list of Cabrera’s home run victims. The only National League team with at least 20 is Washington/Montreal with 21.
  • Though Cabrera has a well-earned reputation for opposite-field power, he still has pulled more of his home runs, according to baseball-reference — 166 to left, 87 to left-center, then 70 to right, 70 to center and 28 to right-center.
  • Cabrera has by far more home runs on the first pitch (91) than any other count. Next-closest is the 0-1 pitch with 52. The lowest? He has two home runs on 3-0 pitches. He also has more home runs on 0-2 pitches (19) than 2-0 (11), probably because so many pitchers choose to walk him when he gets to 2-0.

Sunday night lineups: Tigers at Cardinals

Under the lights at Busch Stadium tonight, Jason Heyward is back in the Cardinals lineup, leading off for the first time this season. Matt Adams gets his first start of the series, adding a left-handed power bat against Alfredo Simon. With a night game after a day game, the Tigers have their regular lineup for right-handers, including James McCann behind the plate and Jose Iglesias at shortstop. With the late-night travel after the game, it’ll be interesting to see if Monday’s opener against the Brewers sees some folks get some rest.

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

tigers1957logoTIGERS (career numbers off Lance Lynn)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-2, triple)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-2, intentional walk)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (1-for-2, triple, walk, K)
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-6, walk)
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (2-for-3, triple)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jose Iglesias, SS
  9. Alfredo Simon, P (0-for-2)

cardinalpitchinglogoCARDINALS

  1. Jason Heyward, RF (1-for-4, K)
  2. Matt Carpenter, 3B (2-for-8, double, 2 walks)
  3. Matt Holliday, LF (3-for-16, 4 walks, 3 K’s)
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS (2-for-11, double, HR, walk, K)
  5. Matt Adams, 1B (3-for-7, 2 doubles, HR, walk)
  6. Yadier Molina, C (5-for-14, double, K)
  7. Kolten Wong, 2B (0-for-9, walk, 3 K’s)
  8. Peter Bourjos, CF (0-for-2)
  9. Lance Lynn, P (0-for-2, K)

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers at Cardinals

Left-hander Tyler Lyons draws the Tigers’ right-handed heavy lineup. Between injuries and no DH, all that means is Rajai Davis starting in center field over Anthony Gose. Right-handed batters are hitting .261 (75-for-287) with a .770 OPS against Lyons for his career, compared with .191 (18-for-94) with a .539 OPS from left-handed hitters. Davis, meanwhile, is 9-for-29 with two doubles, a triple and a home run off lefties this season.

The Cardinals get Randal Grichuk back from the disabled list and immediately put him atop the batting order against David Price. Peter Bourjos moves down to eighth, while Jason Heyward gets the day off against the left.

Reminder: First pitch is 2:15pm ET, an hour later than the usual day game thanks to the time change.

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

tigers1927logoTIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-1, walk off Lyons)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jose Iglesias, SS
  9. David Price, P

fredbirdlogoCARDINALS

  1. Randal Grichuk, RF
  2. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  6. Yadier Molina, C
  7. Kolten Wong, 2B
  8. Peter Bourjos, CF
  9. Tyler Lyons, P

Friday’s lineups: Tigers at Cardinals

Take out the DH slot, move everybody else up, insert the pitcher at the bottom, and it’s a pretty standard lineup for now. J.D. Martinez is back in the outfield after spending Thursday as the DH and taking it easy on his back.

The Cardinals have Mark Reynolds at first base over Matt Adams, giving Shane Greene one less left-handed hitter to face. Jhonny Peralta bats in the cleanup spot for the fifth time in seven games, while Jason Heyward bats eighth for the third time in five games.

tigerroarlogoTIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jose Iglesias, SS
  9. Shane Greene, P

cardinalslogoCARDINALS

  1. Peter Bourjos, CF
  2. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  6. Kolten Wong, 2B
  7. Yadier Molina, C
  8. Jason Heyward, RF
  9. Carlos Martinez, P
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