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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Several Tigers farmhands up for MiLBY awards

Although their seasons are long over, a few minor leaguers in the Detroit Tigers system still have a shot to collect some hardware.

A few farmhands — guys like the franchise’s Minor League Player of the Year, Steven Moya, or fellow September call-up Tyler Collins (pictured) — are candidates for awards in the 2014 MiLBYs, yearly minor league awards, voted on by the fans.

To vote, you can go here. Voting ends Thursday, and winners will be announced over the following weeks.

Categories in which Tigers players/teams are candidates:

• Breakout Prospect: Moya, Double-A Erie; Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Class A West Michigan (Jumped 14 spots in organizational rankings after leading the Midwest League in ERA at 2.27 and striking out 152)

Best Farm System: Yes, the Tigers are one of 10 candidates in this category, boosted in large part by starting pitching depth, particularly the Whitecaps rotation.

Photo of the Year: A diving catch by first-round pick Derek Hill for the Connecticut Tigers, a moment between Erie catcher Craig Albernaz and a young fan, and a pic of the Whitecaps meeting a monkey are all candidates in this category.

• Top Play:
Toledo second baseman Brandon Douglas and shortstop Hernan Perez combine for a groundout.

Top Home Run: Collins launches one onto the roof of the Fricker’s building beyond the right-field wall at Toledo’s Fifth Third Ballpark; Mud Hens veteran Mike Hessman joins the Minor League 400-homer club, becoming its eighth member.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Alex Avila leaves Game 3 of ALDS after being hit on mask with a foul tip

DETROIT — Alex Avila left Sunday’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series after taking a foul tip off the mask in the top of the sixth inning.

Avila’s had concussion issues each of the last three seasons, including three separate times this season.

He appeared to try to talk his way into staying in the game, when head trainer Kevin Rand and manager Brad Ausmus came out to check on him, but he left the field with them under his own power.

Bryan Holaday replaced him behind the plate.

Tigers lose challenge early on Romine's bunt-for-a-hit attempt

DETROIT — The Tigers took a pair of gambles in the second inning — and lost them both, upon review.

After a one-out double by Alex Avila, followed by a fly out to send Avila to third, Andrew Romine attempted to bunt for a hit.

He was called out on a bang-bang play.

Manager Brad Ausmus challenged the call, and lost.

Romine arrived at the bag at the same time as the ball, which was shoveled over by second baseman Jonathan Schoop, with a glove-flip.

Ausmus didn’t hesitate long, hoping to get Avila’s run to score with an overturn.

After a review of 2:28 by the crew in New York, the call was upheld, keeping the game a scoreless tie.

Ausmus reverses course on Carrera's defense, starts Kelly in center in win-or-go-home game

DETROIT — It says something when your manager seems like he doesn’t trust you in an elimination game — especially on a team that’s filled with defensive question marks.

Just last Sunday, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus had proclaimed Ezequiel Carrera the best of the remaining center fielders, the morning after Rajai Davis injured himself on the second-to-last game of the regular season.

One week later, Carrera’s not in the lineup when Davis can’t go for Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Instead, Don Kelly’s starting in center.

“Gut instinct, decided to go with Donnie. Defensively, they’re about the same,” Ausmus said before the win-or-go-home game. “Zeke probably runs a little bit better. Donnie, obviously, has a little more experience.”

Carrera does have far better speed. But other than the spectacular, highlight-reel catch in New York shortly after the trade deadline dealings brought him the big leagues, there have been more poor plays than good ones.

See: The single that got dumped in front of him in Game 2, chasing starter Justin Verlander from the game.

That’s one where you’d hope your center fielder gets a better jump, and makes a play.

Ausmus chose to play Carrera in the final game of the regular season, in part based on a ‘gut feeling’ that he’d been swinging the bat well. But, at the time, he still endorsed his defensive capabilities.

“In terms of from a defensive standpoint, it would probably be Carrera, Kelly first, but Tyler (Collins) could play center. Out of the three, Carrera’s probably the better center fielder out of all of them. Then Kelly, and Tyler,” Ausmus said. “All three of them are capable of playing it.”

Like Davis, Carrera’s fleetness of foot can be a bonus offensively — he finished with seven steals in the regular season, fifth-most on the team, despite playing just 45 games with the Tigers — but his defense has been spotty. Lots of bad jumps, poor routes.

Sitting him Sunday is merely an endorsement of that reality.

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Lineups for G3 of ALDS, Tigers vs. Orioles; Don Kelly starts in CF

Rajai Davis was hopeful he'd play again in Game 3 of the Division Series, but with the cold weather, manager Brad Ausmus started Don Kelly in the key game instead.

Down 0-2, the Tigers turned to David Price on the mound, hoping he'd do the same thing he'd done in Game 162, helping seal a division title.

Baltimore leads, 2-0
G3: at Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 5, 3:45 p.m.
TV: TBS (Brian Anderson PBP, Dennis Eckersley/Joe Simpson color)
Radio: WXYT-AM (1270) and WWJ-AM (950), WMGC-FM (105.1 — ESPN feed)

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Alex Avila, C
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Andrew Romine, SS
Don Kelly, CF

Pitcher: David Price, LHP (4-4, 3.59 ERA with Tigers)

[LINK: Manager Brad Ausmus on decision to start Kelly over Ezequiel Carrera]

Nick Markakis, RF
Steven Pearce, 1B
Adam Jones, CF
Nelson Cruz, DH
Delmon Young, LF
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nick Hundley, C
Ryan Flaherty, 3B
Jonathan Schoop, 2B

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tigers' Justin Verlander pushing for fans to 'BlueOut' Comerica Park for Game 3

The Tigers were already hoping to have a pumped up home crowd when they brought the series back to Detroit — now they're hoping to have a color-coordinated one, too.

In an attempt to get fans jacked up for Sunday's Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Detroit Tigers star Justin Verlander took to Twitter the night before, pushing for fans to pick one color to fill Comerica Park with.

Since orange is also the primary colors for the Orioles, fans settled on blue — as one fan put it, also representing the blue collars of Tigers fans.

The requests — seen below — used the hashtags #colorcomerica and #blueout.

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Rajai Davis on G3 of ALDS: 'I am going to play tomorrow ... I hope.'

DETROIT — The Rajai Davis saga will extend into Sunday’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series, with the center fielder, whose speed has been greatly hampered by a week-old pelvic injury, believing he’ll play.

“I am going to play,” he said emphatically at Saturday’s workout at Comerica Park. “I hope.”

If there was a game on Saturday, he’s not so sure, though.

“I’m glad there’s not, so I don’t even have to make that decision,” he admitted.

The injury has clearly robbed Davis of his one defining tool, his speed. He wouldn’t hazard a guess at the percentage.

“Not sure right now. I just know it’s been getting better every day. At the beginning of the game I’ve noticed more than in the middle of the game. At the beginning of the game, every game, I’ve been faster,” he said. “It’s getting better, actually. Every day, it’s getting better.

“It’s just not what we’re used to seeing.”

He was hobbling so badly in Friday’s Game 2, that manager Brad Ausmus removed him from the game after his second at-bat.

“It’s not tough at all. It’s humbling. I’m like some of the other guys that walk around here — just not as fast,” said Davis, who cackled when a reporter responded with “Welcome to our world.”

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