Blogs > Out of Left Field

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Suarez returns to lineup after missing time with sore back


After missing a game and a half essentially with lower back stiffness, shortstop Eugenio Suarez returned to the Tigers lineup for Thursday's series finale. Torii Hunter was also in the lineup for a day game after a night game, in part because he's got the second-most RBI in the American League in July (23), and in part because he's 15-for-49 (.306) lifetime against Chicago's John Danks, with three home runs.


DETROIT TIGERS (58-46)
Austin Jackson, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
J.D. Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Drew Smyly, LHP (6-9, 3.77 ERA)

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (52-56)
Adam Eaton, CF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Jose Abreu, 1B
Dayan Viciedo, LF
Paul Konerko, DH
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Tyler Flowers, C
Moises Sierra, RF
Leury Garcia, 3B

Pitcher: John Danks, LHP (9-6, 4.40 ERA)

Andy Dirks to restart rehab assignment on Friday


DETROIT — Andy Dirks will resume his rehabilitation assignment at Class A West Michigan on Friday.

He was recalled from his assignment after six games, following a setback.

Coming back from back surgery in March, Dirks experienced low-back muscular inflammation, causing the Tigers to recall him on July 16, and leave him on the disabled list.

“It’s kind of things you go through sometimes in rehabilitation. If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s missed obviously so much time and this was kind of his spring training, normal rehab assignment you’d probably say just give it a couple days, you’re still gonna get the at-bats we need. In the case of him, where every day is very, very important for him because he doesn’t get that many, we want to make sure we get every one we can,” Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand said at the time.


“He expected it. He said to me on the phone, ‘I’m doing everything but right now with this soreness, I don’t have that first-step quickness.’ I said, ‘Well, let’s get that back.’ You don’t lose anything by doing it.”

Although Dirks already played in six rehabilitation games in the minors, but the 20-day clock on the assignment resets, since he missed more than five days.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Castellanos back in the Tigers lineup, Suarez still missing


Nick Castellanos missed all of Tuesday's series opener against the White Sox after taking a grounder off his finger in batting practice. He's back in the lineup for Wednesday's second game in the series.

Eugenio Suarez, who left midway through Tuesday's game with lower back stiffness, is still out of the lineup.

Here are the lineups for the game:

DETROIT TIGERS (57-46):
Austin Jackson, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
J.D. Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Max Scherzer, RHP (12-3, 3.37 ERA)

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (52-54):
Adam Eaton, CF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Jose Abreu, 1B
Adam Dunn, DH
Dayan Viciedo, RF
Conor Gillaspie, 3B
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Tyler Flowers, C

Pitcher: Hector Noesi, RHP (5-6, 4.37 ERA)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Suarez leaves game early with back stiffness


DETROIT — Eugenio Suarez was going to make some rookie mistakes — that was to be expected.

He hadn’t looked overwhelmed at any point in time, though.

Tuesday might have been his worst game, defensively, since joining the Tigers, as me made two misplays in the first four innings, before Andrew Romine pinch hit for him in the fourth.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad that the 22-year-old rookie left the game with lower back tightness, and is day to day.

Suarez misplayed an Adam Eaton grounder, his throwing error allowing Eaton to take second base in the third. He made a diving stop on Dayan Viciedo’s grounder, then rushed a throw to second, trying to start a double play, but threw wide of second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Jack White set to toss first pitch



In the day off between playing a pair of concerts in his hometown, Detroit native Jack White was scheduled to throw out the first pitch before Tuesday’s game, but according to reports, was rebuffed in a request to have Miguel Cabrera stand in the batter’s box when he did so.

“I don’t really have a feeling either way on it,” manager Brad Ausmus said of the request.

“Depends on how hard he’s going to throw the ball. If he throws 95 (mph), then I don’t want Miggy standing there, but we might want to sign him.”

It took a minute for Ausmus to even register who the celebrity hurler was.

“Oh, White Stripes? ... I only know one song by the White Stripes, ‘Seven Nation Army,’” Ausmus said, tongue-in-cheek calling himself a “big fan. I do have that song on my iPhone.”

Lineups for opener vs. Chicago White Sox


If you look closely in the pic, you can see the damage done to the outfield by last week's Jimmy Buffet concert. You can also see former manager Jim Leyland in the foreground (shorts, checked shirt) talking with White Sox personnel.

Brad Ausmus went with a less conventional batting order for Tuesday’s game, batting Miguel Cabrera in the cleanup spot for just the fifth time this season. Rajai Davis moved up into the second spot, while Ian Kinsler hit in Cabrera’s normal third slot.

The previous four times, it was a matter of trying to get Davis up in the order, and on the basepaths ahead of Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

“It has to do more with how Raj is doing against (Jose) Quintana, more of a matchup thing,” Ausmus said of Davis, who coming in was 8-for-20 vs. the White Sox starter, with two doubles and a home run.

Cabrera, who was sitting near Ausmus’ media scrum in the Tigers dugout, agreed with the move, even if it was just to make a joke at his own expense.

“Miggy’s only hitting .309. You gotta move the lineup. You gotta do something because he doesn’t do anything. So you gotta move different lineups so we can score runs, guys,” Cabrera interjected.

And the thought of more runners on base in front of him?

“Yes, please,” Cabrera said.

The lineup had more changes before the game started, though, when Nick Castellanos had to be scratched late. He was struck by a grounder in batting practice, leaving a contusion on his right index finger. He is day-to-day.

Cabrera slid back over to third base, while J.D. Martinez slid into the lineup and hit in the seventh spot.


DETROIT TIGERS (57-45):
Austin Jackson, CF
Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Bryan Holaday, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

UPDATED lineup:
Austin Jackson, CF
Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Victor Martinez, 1B
Torii Hunter, DH
J.D. Martinez, RF
Bryan Holaday, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez, RHP (7-4, 3.45 ERA)

CHICAGO WHITE SOX:
Adam Eaton, CF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Jose Abreu, 1B
Adam Dunn, DH
Dayan Viciedo, RF
Connor Gillaspie, 3B
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Tyler Flowers, C

Pitcher: Jose Quintana, LHP (5-7, 3.15 ERA)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Replay hasn't reduced umpire arguments, manager ejections — just ask Tigers' Brad Ausmus


The assumption, naturally, was that the implementation of expanded instant replay would put to bed the old — and amusing — occurrence of Major League Baseball managers giving an earful to umpires, before getting ejected.

The numbers, however, have not borne out that theory.

In fact, the ejection numbers — including the second ejection of the season for Brad Ausmus Saturday evening — are up from a year ago.

“Someone said there’s actually been more ejections of managers this year than in the past,” Ausmus said last week. “I don’t know if that’s changed since that was brought up, but I was shocked by that.”

It hasn’t.

According to tracking by Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, Ausmus’ was the 134th ejection of the season, and the 60th time a manager got heaved.

On the same date in 2013, there had been 104 ejections, including 52 managers. In 2012, there were 99 total ejections, 49 of managers.

So, clearly, there’s not a correlation between replay getting more calls right, and managers arguing with umpires about missed calls.

Managers’ forays onto the field have become more civil, for the most part, and that’s fine. Often, they’re chatting with umpires while stalling for time to find out if they should or should not challenge.

“Yeah, I don’t mind it. It’s definitely more civil. It’s definitely hard to go out and start screaming at an umpire when all you have to do is say ‘Hey, take a look at it,’” Ausmus said. “You can’t generally make it personal. I can’t call the umpire a name, so to speak, a flowery name. That’s about it. You don’t want to make it personal. Or I don’t, anyway.

“Once that game is over, the general rule is it’s over. You don’t bring it back the next day, or bring it up again. Generally, you don’t go out and exchange lineup cards, and tell the home plate umpire he was awful the night before.”

Ausmus was not very civil Saturday night, when he stormed onto the field after replay overturned a call on the field in the top of the third inning. Umpire Jim Joyce — he of the infamous blown call in the Armando Galarraga near-perfect game — initially ruled that Tigers baserunner Eugenio Suarez had gotten back to first base safely on a pickoff attempt.

Replay overturned the call, purportedly showing that Suarez had been tagged out before reaching the base.

Ausmus, who came charging out of the dugout with a card in hand, appeared to be incensed that the replay had been allowed after the batter, Austin Jackson, had stepped back in the batter’s box, and Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker had stepped back on the pitching rubber.

By rule, it is not supposed to be reviewed after the next play has started, like the NFL’s version of replay.

In his postgame press conference, carried on Fox Sports Detroit, Ausmus said that Joyce had told him that the review was crew-chief-initiated (Joyce was the crew chief), meaning that the timing was irrelevant. The play, however, was not going to be reviewed until Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out on the field to question that call, so that seems a hollow argument.

"The umpires have discretion to initiate the review on their own, but clearly they didn't initiate the review," Ausmus said.

And Joyce himself told reporters that it was indeed a manager-initiated challenge (see tweets below).

Ausmus’ only other ejection as a manager — he recalls having 10 or so ejections as a player in a 19-year career — came on May 21, after star Miguel Cabrera had been tossed.

“Clearly the umpire was wrong and I was right,” Ausmus joked. “It was a check-swing call on Miguel Cabrera. Miggy started talking to the umpire (Tim Timmons), and he got tossed before I got out there.”