Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers at White Sox

Jose Iglesias said he expected to be ready for Tuesday after leaving Sunday’s game with groin tightness, but he’s not in the lineup today. Andrew Romine gets the start. Other than that, it’s a regular lineup against Jeff Samardzija.

It’s a dreary day in Chicago, where the fog settled in this morning and hasn’t left. Chances are it’ll still be around this evening, judging from the forecast. Could also be light rain, but scattered, so figure they’ll get this game in.

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

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Samardzija)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (2-for-4)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-4)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2-for-4, double, K)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (2-for-10, triple, K)
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (1-for-4, HR, 2 K’s)
  7. Alex Avila, C (0-for-3, K)
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

P: Shane Greene

whitesoxlogoWHITE SOX (numbers off Greene)

  1. Adam Eaton, CF (0-for-2, walk)
  2. Melky Cabrera, LF (3-for-6, double)
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B (2-for-6, triple, HR, K)
  4. Adam LaRoche, DH (1-for-3, K)
  5. Avisail Garcia, RF (0-for-5, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Conor Gillaspie, 3B (0-for-4, walk, K)
  7. Alexei Ramirez, SS (2-for-4, 2 walks, K)
  8. Geovany Soto, C (2-for-3, K)
  9. Micah Johnson, 2B (1-for-2, K)

P: Jeff Samardzija

Set points: How Tigers salvaged a split in KC

The quiet tranquility of the Tigers’ Sunday morning clubhouse was briefly interrupted by the arrival of Miguel Cabrera in his getaway-day gear, including a fuschia suit that caused a stir.

It was a different suit than Cabrera wore on his way into Kansas City four days earlier. In the American League Central standings, however, the Tigers left town looking pretty much the same as they came in, a half-game up on the Royals. Considering where they stood two games into their four-game series, it was a good look.

Even for a team that knows better than to make too much of an early series, it was noticed. It wasn’t something they welcomed, but it was a nice test for a team that won its first six in a row and had generally won over the rest of the division in April.

“To lose the first two here against a team that’s very hot [and split], I think, could certainly show some resilience on their part,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

They recovered with the same formula that has worked for them for the past four years, leveraging solid starting pitching into games that could be won by key hits. The Tigers were outscored in the series, 17-10, and didn’t top the two-run mark until Sunday’s series finale, but they allowed just two runs over a 22-inning stretch from the second inning Friday night through the sixth inning Sunday. Most of those innings came from starters Kyle Lobstein, David Price and Anibal Sanchez.

By the time the Royals offense reignited against a tiring Sanchez and Detroit’s setup relief, the series split was relatively secure.

“We had three really good pitching performances in a row from Lobstein, DP and Anibal,” catcher Alex Avila said. “Those are the types of things we’ve come to expect from our staff, though. It was just a matter of getting some timely hits the last few days. They’re not an easy team to beat, and it was nice to get some wins. …

“When you get pitching performances like that, you have momentum. That’s why they say it’s as good as your next pitcher, because when you’re able to get guys going out there throwing strikes and innings are moving along, guys are pitching well, that adds to the momentum.”

That momentum will likely be long forgotten when the two teams meet again Friday to start a three-game series at Comerica Park, culminating in a Sunday night showcase on national television. Price and Sanchez will pitch in that series, too, but at the start rather than the end.

What went right: The front line of the Tigers rotation did what they should, and what the Tigers needed. They took over the final two games of the series. For Sanchez especially, that was a major development, giving him three very good starts since two-start issue with home runs. At the other end of the rotation, Kyle Lobstein again looked like someone who could stick for a while, despite a three-run opening inning. His ability to eat innings after an early debacle was Verlander-like, and it avoided a scenario that would’ve left the Tigers bullpen taxed in back-to-back games to start the series. Detroit’s defense, shifts aside, had a good all-around series, not just with more Jose Iglesias highlights but with a couple nice plays from Nick Castellanos.

What went wrong: The Tigers offense struggled to produce until Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera hit Jeremy Guthrie on Sunday, continuing good matchup numbers for both. J.D. Martinez fell into what was arguably an overdue slump. Detroit’s shift tendencies were exploited for the first time thanks to Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, forcing a tweaking of the shift but no shying away from the shift itself. Meanwhile, Alfredo Simon was hit hard.

Takeaway: While Victor Martinez is producing better swings, they still aren’t producing much offense. It’s not so much the swing as it seems to be the momentum behind it. He generates a lot of power from his lower body, and his legs don’t have that power from last year, at least not yet, turning what might have been doubles and homers last season into outs now. While some clamor for a trip to the disabled list, the advice is iffy at best whether a 15-day DL stint would make any difference at all on his surgically repaired knee, given that his meniscus was clipped rather than fully repaired. Like it or not, he’s probably going to have to manage the discomfort while managing his swing in his new reality.

Snapshot moment: Castellanos’ third-to-first double play didn’t have the artistry of an Iglesias play, but it gave David Price two of his biggest outs of Saturday night. It also showed an awareness on the part of Castellanos, who said after the game that he decided quickly he had little chance to get an out at second base.

Turning point: Anthony Gose’ takeout slide on Christian Colon Saturday led directly to Detroit’s first lead of the series. They never trailed the rest of the weekend.

Pitching performance of the series: Price’s complete-game five-hitter was the illustration of what an ace does to stop losing streaks in their tracks. He not only shut down a Royals offense that had been rolling, he did so with quick enough innings to keep sending the Tigers offense up to bat.

Hitting performance of the series: Alex Avila drove in almost as any runs Sunday (three) as he plated all season leading up to Sunday (four). That doesn’t include the extra run scoring on a Paulo Orlando error.

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

J.D. Martinez returns to the starting lineup as expected against Jeremy Guthrie, making it a pretty standard lineup against the right-hander. Alex Avila catches the day game after a night game, hoping to parlay his history against Guthrie into an offensive spark amidst what has so far been a 1-for-11 road trip for him.

On the KC side, Lorenzo Cain is out of the lineup, having dropped the appeal of his two-game suspension from the White Sox fight. He’s 3-for-16 for his career against Anibal Sanchez, so the timing made sense. That said, his replacement, Jarrod Dyson, is 2-for-19 off Sanchez.

TIGERS (career numbers off Guthrie)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-8, K)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (14-for-42, 2 doubles, triple, HR, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (16-for-50, double, 3 HR, 6 walks, 8 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (12-for-34, 3 doubles, 3 walks, 3 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (6-for-18, double, 2 HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (0-for-5)
  7. Alex Avila, C (8-for-29, 3 doubles, 3 HR, 5 walks, 8 K’s)
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B (4-for-9, 2 doubles, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-3, K)

P: Anibal Sanchez

ROYALS (career numbers off Sanchez)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF (5-for-15, double, walk, 3 K’s)
  2. Mike Moustakas, 3B (3-for-15, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
  3. Kendrys Morales, DH (2-for-6, double, walk, K)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (5-for-22, double, K)
  5. Salvador Perez, C (2-for-15, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  6. Omar Infante, 2B (4-for-24, walk, 3 K’s)
  7. Paulo Orlando, RF
  8. Jarrod Dyson, CF (2-for-19, 4 K’s)
  9. Christian Colon, SS

P: Jeremy Guthrie

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

For the first time this season, J.D. Martinez is out of the starting lineup. He gets the night off amidst an 0-for-10 stretch with seven strikeouts since he homered at Target Field on Wednesday. Beyond that, he’s 2-for-17 with 11 strikeouts. Rajai Davis starts alongside Anthony Gose, giving them a speed duo in the outfield as well as the 9-1 spots.

Even with the lefty-lefty matchup, keep an eye on Mike Moustakas. While left-handed hitters are 11-for-34 (.324) against David Price so far this season, Moustakas is 14-for-43 (.326) against left-handed pitchers. Against all pitchers, he’s 10-for-23 over his last five games.

As for the shift the Tigers have put on Moustakas and Eric Hosmer so far this series, Brad Ausmus said after Hosmer’s bunt single last night that they might tweak their strategy a little bit, but that they’re still going to shift them.

As for the photo above, it’s Salvador Perez bobblehead day. That was the line outside the first-base gate just over four hours before game time.

TIGERS (career numbers off Volquez)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (2-for-6, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (1-for-3, 2 walks)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-7, K)
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Alex Avila, C (1-for-3, HR)
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-1)
  9. Rajai Davis, RF (1-for-6, triple, K)

P: David Price

ROYALS (career numbers against Price)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF (0-for-6)
  2. Mike Moustakas, 3B (0-for-3, 3 K’s)
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF (1-for-3, K)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (1-for-3)
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH (4-for-14, walk, 3 K’s)
  6. Salvador Perez, C (0-for-3)
  7. Omar Infante, 2B (1-for-3, HR)
  8. Paulo Orlando, RF
  9. Christian Colon, SS

P: Edinson Volquez

Friday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

  A whole lot of ugly numbers from Tigers hitters against Chris Young, who beat them twice last year. Anthony Gose and Alex Avila return to the lineup. No Alcides Escobar again tonight for the Royals, whose only change is Paulo Orlando in right field over Jarrod Dyson.

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

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Chris Young)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-8, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2-for-15, HR, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (1-for-9, 2 K’s)
  5. D. Martinez, RF (1-for-3, double)
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (1-for-7, double, 2 walks, K)
  7. Alex Avila, C (1-for-4, 2 K’s)
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-4, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Kyle Lobstein


  1. Alex Gordon, LF
  2. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Salvador Perez, C
  7. Omar Infante, 2B
  8. Paulo Orlando, RF
  9. Christian Colon, SS

P: Chris Young

Tigers release Wells, Duran from Double-A Erie

Casper Wells’ reunion with the Tigers organization met a sudden end Friday. So did left-hander Omar Duran’s attempt to follow Al Alburquerque’s path through the system. The Tigers released them both after disappointing starts as part of a roster shakeup at Double-A Erie.

The SeaWolves entered Friday at 6-13, the second-worst record in the Eastern League. That trajectory wasn’t going to sit well with new ownership in Erie. Thus, with the opening month now over, the changes came fast.

Wells, a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2005 who was traded to Seattle for Doug Fister in 2011, signed a minor-league deal Feb. 17 to return to the Tigers after bouncing around organizations and indy ball the past couple years. He returned to Erie, where he hit 32 home runs over 161 games in 2008 and 2009, but went 9-for-43 with one homer and 17 strikeouts.

The 25-year-old Duran spent Spring Training in big-league camp, having signed a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite after spending six-plus seasons in Oakland’s farm system. Despite more than 275 innings as an A’s farmhand, he had just 14 1/3 innings above A-ball, and his start at Erie seemed to show why. He gave up nine runs, eight earned, on 10 hits over 8 1/3 innings with four walks and 10 strikeouts. He had four scoreless outings, two of them perfect, and three with multiple runs allowed.

Wells’ release cleared room for slugger Dean Green to return from the disabled list. Duran gives way to former Tiger Ryan Perry, who was activated from the DL after spending April shelved with soreness. Perry signed a minor-league deal with Detroit Feb. 24.

The Tigers also promoted right-handed reliever Zac Reininger and lefty Joe Rogers to Erie following strong opening months at Class A Lakeland. Brennan Smith and Slade Smith were optioned to Lakeland to make room.

Game 23: Royals strike first in division battle

Alfredo Simon succeeded beyond expectations in April through a simple philosophy: He threw strikes, and he kept the ball down in the zone consistently. He left pitches up on Thursday, and he paid for them consistently.

On the flip side, the Royals were ready for Alfredo Simon, even after getting back home early Thursday morning from a disappointing Wednesday night loss in Cleveland. They made Simon pay for pitches he left up, sure, but as the strike zone map on brooksbaseball.net shows, they also hit their fair share of pitches Simon located down in the strike zone as well, such as Jarrod Dyson’s fourth-inning single.


“In a lot of situations, I was behind in the count,” Simon said. “I just tried to throw a strike and when it was up, they put a good swing on it. I think my split in the first couple innings didn’t work very good, and they took advantage of that.”

After all the talk of statements and ensuing misses from Cleveland last month, the Royals executed their part of the division rivalry to plan, from capitalizing on Simon to Danny Duffy keeping the Tigers offense constrained. They were aggressive in a way that Simon wasn’t able to use it against them.

Four of Kansas City’s nine hits off Simon went for extra bases. All of those either traveled to the outfield fence or, in the case of Eric Hosmer’s home run, cleared it. Every hit off Simon was a line drive or a fly ball except for Moustakas’ bunt single against the shift in the opening inning.

“They hit it in spots we weren’t playing. It’s tough to defend that. It’s a big outfield, a lot of room out there,” Rajai Davis said. “We made some mistakes and they took advantage of it.”

Said Simon: “I think these guys are good hitters, and they’re really hot right now.”

It was one game, and it’s entirely possible the Tigers settle in from here. A quality start from Kyle Lobstein would go a long way toward stifling momentum. But in many ways, this was a swing game of the four-game set, not just the fact that it was the first game, but for the pitching matchup. If there are statements to be made, the Royals made it, though the Tigers have been through enough of these – such as Indians early-season series sweeps in past years – to know better than make too much of one game.

“I’m not worried about this club,” Ausmus said. “They’ll come in ready to play tomorrow. I’m not concerned at all.”

Play of the game: Simon had seemingly contained the damage of Mike Moustakas’ third-inning RBI double to open the scoring by striking out Lorenzo Cain for the second out, sending a fastball by him on a foul tip with Moustakas on second. He then threw a first-pitch two-seamer that Hosmer centered off the batters eye for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead.

“I just left a two-seamer up,” Simon said.

Out of the game: The Tigers didn’t have many rallies off Duffy, but they had a chance to strike in the first inning after a Miguel Cabrera walk and a Victor Martinez single, setting up J.D. Martinez for an RBI opportunity. Duffy couldn’t get Martinez to bite on a first-pitch curveball, but he got swings on his next three pitches – a miss on a changeup, a 94 mph fastball that Martinez fouled off, then back to the curveball which got Martinez swinging this time. It denied the Tigers a chance to take the early momentum, and it got Duffy rolling.

Strategery: It didn’t result in any runs, but Moustakas got his night started by laying a bunt down the third-base line with the infield defense shifted on him to pull. It was an easy single, and as Jose Iglesias scrambled to the line to get it, it could’ve given Moustakas a chance to at least look toward second base if he had another step or two.

It was also the exact type of move Brad Ausmus warned was coming this year from hitters to counter the shift.

“That was a perfect bunt. I give him credit,” Ausmus said. “You can tell he’s making an attempt to go the other way a little bit. If you’re going to hand him a bunt, he’ll take advantage of it. So I give him credit.”

Line of the game: The Royals scored more runs off Simon in 4 1/3 innings (six) than he gave up in his previous four outings combined (five). The nine hits he allowed included the same extra-base hit damage he had given up in his previous four starts – three doubles and a home run. His ERA rose from 1.65 to 3.13.

Stat of the game: Victor Martinez’s two-hit game was just his fourth multi-hit game so far this season. He had 57 multi-hit games last year.

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

James McCann gets his second consecutive start, this part as part of the standard lefty lineup with Danny Duffy on the mound.

The Royals shuffle their batting order with Alcides Escobar out after his hit-by-pitch from Danny Salazar. Alex Gordon returns to his old job as leadoff hitter, with folks at the bottom of the order moving up a spot. Christian Colon starts as shortstop, batting ninth.

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers against Duffy)

  1. Rajai Davis, CF (2-for-9, double, walk, K)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-12, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (5-for-18, 3 doubles, 6 walks, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (3-for-15, double, 2 walks, K)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-6, HR, 4 K’s)
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (0-for-2, walk, K)
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-8)
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-1, K)

P: Alfredo Simon

royalschampionslogoROYALS (career numbers off Simon)

  1. Alex Gordon, LF (1-for-5, HR, K)
  2. Mike Moustakas, 3B (0-for-3)
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (2-for-4, 2 doubles)
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Salvador Perez, C
  7. Omar Infante, 2B (1-for-1)
  8. Jarrod Dyson, RF
  9. Christian Colon, SS

P: Danny Duffy

Joe Nathan undergoes Tommy John surgery

Joe Nathan underwent Tommy John surgery and flexor repair on Wednesday. The closer confirmed the news via text message on Thursday, the first day of his rehab.

“Everything went very well,” Nathan texted.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press first reported that surgery took place.

Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery in Texas. The surgery came exactly a week after Nathan left his rehab appearance at Triple-A Toledo with a severe elbow injury, later revealed to be tears of the ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor pronator. The surgery ended his 2015 season after four pitches, a one-out save on Opening Day against the Twins. At age 40, his career is also in serious question, but he said he will rehab with the intention of a comeback attempt.

“Already back in there doing some exercises,” Nathan said.

Given the procedures, he said he’s unlikely to pick up a ball for eight months, which puts the start of next season likely out of range for him.

Nathan remains on the 15-day disabled list for now until the Tigers need an extra spot on their 40-man roster, at which point they would move him to the 60-day DL. Some have asked on Twitter why the Tigers don’t simply release Nathan, but beyond not serving any benefit, it would actually cost them money to do so. For the Tigers to collect any insurance on Nathan’s contract, they would have to keep him on the roster the entire season.

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Twins

Rajai Davis returns, while Alex Avila and Jose Iglesias get the day off after the night game.

TIGERS (career numbers off Hughes)

  1. Rajai Davis, CF (7-for-29, 4 doubles, walk, 5 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (6-for-26, 2 doubles, triple, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (16-for-37, 4 doubles, 5 HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (7-for-30, 2 doubles, 4 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-3, HR, K)
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (5-for-10, 2 doubles, triple, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-7, walk, 4 K’s)
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Andrew Romine, SS (0-for-6, 2 K’s)

P: Shane Greene

TWINS (career numbers off Greene)

  1. Danny Santana, SS (0-for-4, K)
  2. Brian Dozier, 2B (0-for-3, K)
  3. Joe Mauer, DH (0-for-2, walk)
  4. Trevor Plouffe, 3B (1-for-3, K)
  5. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
  6. Eduardo Escobar, LF (1-for-3)
  7. Kennys Vargas, 1B (1-for-3, double, K)
  8. Chris Herrmann, C
  9. Jordan Schafer, CF (0-for-3)

P: Phil Hughes


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