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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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Predicting the Detroit Tigers' September call-ups



Aside from predicting the roster in spring training, about the most fun you can have throwing darts at the board during the season is predicting the minor-league call-ups when the active rosters expand from 25 on Sept. 1.

As with most other recent seasons, the Detroit Tigers probably won’t add a ton of bodies, simply because they’re in the mode of trying to win now, not trying to see what’s down on the farm.

So far, from the hints he’s given off, first-year manager Brad Ausmus sounds like his philosophy on the process meshes pretty well with that of both general manager Dave Dombrowski, as well as his predecessor in the manager’s chair, Jim Leyland.

“Well, generally in a pennant race, you want to bring up guys that can help you win, but not turn your clubhouse into a sardine can,” Ausmus said last week. “General philosophy.”

There are some guys, though, who could help in pinch-hitting or pinch-running roles, as well as the reality that a bullen which has been overtaxed for much of the season could certainly use an influx of arms, so Ausmus never really has to worry about overusing anyone who doesn’t fall into the “back-end arm” category.

Here’s a look at some of the players who will probably be called up, when the calendar flips to September on Monday:

[UPDATED: Ausmus told reporters in Chicago that Moya, Collins, Perez will join the Tigers Monday; Ray, Lobstein and McCann Tuesday. Ryan will be recalled Tuesday, as well, but he really never left the team. Drew VerHagen — hurt after his spot start with the Tigers — will be recalled, and placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for McCann on the 40-man roster.]

ALMOST DEFINITE
James McCann, C, Triple-A Toledo — Some are surprised he’s not up already, since his bat (.295 average, 34 doubles, 7 home runs) could provide an upgrade over current backup Bryan Holaday. The reality, though, is that McCann doesn’t know the pitching staff as well as Holaday, so he probably won’t get a ton of playing time, if he does come up, but he certainly will be useful as an emergency catcher who can also pinch hit against a tough lefty or two now and again.

Hernan Perez, IF, Triple-A Toledo — There were arguments that Perez, not Eugenio Suarez, should have been the Tigers’ pick when they were looking to figure out their shortstop position. Perez has been up each of the last two seasons, and certainly won’t be overawed, if he comes back again. He’s also quick enough to be used as a pinch runner here and there.

Kyle Lobstein, LHP, Triple-A Toledo — Pitched well in his big-league debut, and again in his big-league starting debut, and didn’t do anything to indicate that he won’t be the starter on Tuesday, the next time Anibal Sanchez’s spot in the rotation comes up.

Kyle Ryan, LHP, Triple-A Toledo — Matched Lobstein’s effort in his own MLB debut in Saturday’s doubleheader, tossing six scoreless innings to help the Tigers to a much-needed split. He’s done very well since his promotion to Toledo earlier this month, after an up-and-down start to the season in Double-A Erie, and has been told he’ll be back on Tuesday, after being “sent down” after Saturday’s game.

PROBABLE
The later the Tigers go into September, the less likely they are to need one spot starter, let alone two, but it wouldn’t surprise me if both Lobstein and Ryan stick around for use in long relief.

Robbie Ray, LHP, Triple-A Toledo; Buck Farmer, RHP, Triple-A Toledo — If neither Lobstein nor Ryan fit in the long relief role, the Tigers might turn to two others who’ve spot started for them this season.

Steven Moya, OF, Double-A Erie — The MVP of the Eastern League, and Futures Game participant now holds the Seawolves’ single-season records for home runs (35) and RBI (104). He could conceivably give the Tigers some pop off the bench, but he’s not a defensive replacement by any stretch of the imagination, and his long swing might merely produce more strikeouts up two levels.

MAYBE

Melvin Mercedes, RHP, Triple-A Toledo
— Made a cameo appearance when the Tigers were waiting on Jim Johnson to be ready. Could come back, if they’re really stretching for relievers.

Tyler Collins, OF, Triple-A Toledo — He was on the Opening Day Tigers roster, and would give them another left-handed bat to use as a pinch-hitter. Can also run a bit, and play decent defense, but doesn’t really offer a huge improvement over the guys the Tigers already have in the outfield, and would be redundant if Moya comes up.

Jose Valdez, RHP, Double-A Erie — The Seawolves’ closer could come up to get a taste of big-league life, but probably wouldn’t be someone thrown into any significant role in the big leagues.

LONGSHOT

Mike Hessman, IF, Triple-A Toledo
— He’s not on the 40-man roster, but would be a sentimental add, rewarding a good organizational soldier who set the International League record for home runs midseason. The 36-year-old hasn’t been in the big leagues since 2010, and hasn’t been up with the Tigers since 2008.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lineups for final game of Tigers-Yankees series


The Yankees and Tigers meet up for the final time in the regular season. The Tigers come in 2.5 games out in the American League Central, and a half-game out of the second AL Wild Card spot. New York is six games out in the AL East and two games behind the Tigers in the Wild Card standings.

Kyle Lobstein made his major league debut last weekend, but he'll get his first big-league start Thursday. The Tigers picked Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft two offseasons ago, and traded catcher Curt Casali to the Tampa Bay Rays so they could hold onto Lobstein's rights. He's 52-48 in 146 minor-league starts, and went 9-11 with a 4.07 ERA at Triple-A Toledo this season.

DETROIT TIGERS (71-60):
Rajai Davis, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
JD Martinez, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Don Kelly, LF
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Kyle Lobstein, LHP (0-0, 4.76 ERA)

NEW YORK YANKEES:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Derek Jeter, SS
Martin Prado, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Carlos Beltran, DH
Brian McCann, C
Chase Headley, 3B
Brett Gardner, LF
Zelous Wheeler, RF

Pitcher: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP (9-8, 3.94 ERA)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

David Price knocked out of second-shortest start by nine straight Yankees hits


DETROIT — With the fifth starter role in limbo because of Anibal Sanchez’s injury, and Justin Verlander still a question mark, the Tigers can’t afford many poor starts from their top three of Max Scherzer, David Price and Rick Porcello.

So it was a sickening feeling, watching Price implode in the third inning vs. the Yankees on Wednesday, when he allowed nine straight hits without recording an out.

It was the second-shortest start of his career, behind a 1 1/3 inning appearance against the Texas Rangers on July 4, 2009.

Price allowed a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, followed by an RBI double by Derek Jeter, a single by Martin Prado, and an RBI double by Mark Teixeira.

Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Chase Headley all dropped in singles before Brett Gardner beat out an infield single to deep short. Francisco Cervelli’s single to left knocked Price out of the game.

The MLB record for consecutive hits by one team is 11. The most consecutive hits Price had ever given up was five in the bottom of the second inning on Sept. 5, 2013, against the LA Angels.

Manager Brad Ausmus replaced Price with Blaine Hardy, who got a pair of sacrifice flies, followed by a groundout, making the final damage eight runs in the third — the most Price has ever given up in any inning of his career, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Lineups on Derek Jeter day at Comerica Park


The Tigers will honor retiring New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeteter with a pregame ceremony. Fans are asked to be in their seats by 6:40 p.m.

DETROIT TIGERS (71-59):
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS
Rajai Davis, CF

Pitcher: David Price, LHP (12-9, 3.00 ERA)

NEW YORK YANKEES
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Derek Jeter, SS
Martin Prado, 2B
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Brian McCann, DH
Chase Headley, 3B
Brett Gardner, LF
Francisco Cervelli, C

Pitcher: Shane Greene, RHP (3-1, 3.17 ERA)

Moya, Fields, Travis highlight Tigers' big Arizona Fall League contingent


The Detroit Tigers don’t always send a large contingent of players to the Arizona Fall League, but they will this year, along with Double-A Erie manager Lance Parrish, who will skipper the Glendale Desert Dogs.

Parrish will have nearly a quarter of his pitching staff made up of Tigers minor leaguers, including Joe Mantiply, Zac Reininger, Chad Smith and Drew VerHagen.

Second base prospect Devon Travis will also be on the club, along with outfielders Steven Moya and Daniel Fields.

While both Travis and Fields were set back by injuries this year, Moya has been dissecting the Erie record book for most of the campaign.

The 6-foot-6 slugger came into Wednesday with 32 doubles, 34 home runs and 102 RBI, earning him mid-season and post-season All-Star status in the Eastern League (he was the top star in the EL All-Star Game), as well as a berth in the Futures Game.

Smith and VerHagen both had cups of coffee with the big-league club this season.

VIDEO: Kinsler's spectacular diving play helps out Porcello


Ian Kinsler made a spectacular diving grab to rob Ichiro Suzuki in Tuesday night's game. Rick Porcello talked about how Kinsler's defense has helped him in his own breakout season.

Here's a look at the play that had Porcello saying 'Wow':


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lineups for series opener between Tigers and Yankees



NOTE: The start of the game was delayed more than an hour by rain.
The big pregame news was that starter Anibal Sanchez suffered a setback in Monday's throwing session, and may not be ready to pitch anytime soon.

DETROIT TIGERS (70-59):
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS
Rajai Davis, CF

Pitcher: Rick Porcello, RHP (14-8, 3.10 ERA)

NEW YORK YANKEES (68-61):
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Derek Jeter, DH
Brian McCann, C
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Carlos Beltran, RF
Martin Prado, 2B
J.D. Drew, SS
Chase Headley, 3B
Ichiro Suzuki, LF

Pitcher: Brandon McCarthy (8-12, 4.01 ERA)