Blogs > Out of Left Field

A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ian Kinsler loses out to Dustin Pedroia on Fielding Bible Award at second base

DETROIT — Ian Kinsler may have had a Gold Glove-caliber season in the estimation of his teammates and manager, but he did not have the best defensive season among second basemen, according to the Fielding Bible Awards.

Boston’s Dustin Pedroia took home the Fielding Bible Award for second base, announced Thursday.

Pedroia finished with 114 points and Kinsler 98, ahead of Birmingham Brother Rice grad D.J. LeMahieu of the Colorado Rockies. [FINAL VOTING TALLIES HERE]

The Fielding Bible Awards are voted on by a 12-member panel, and selects the best player at each position in baseball, rather than by league. This year, it selected the best multi-position player, the American League Championship Series MVP Lorenzo Cain of Kansas City, who played both center and right field.

The alternative defensive awards to the Gold Gloves — which only recently added a component of defensive metrics to the voting process, and often merely went to the “best player” — the Fielding Bible Awards have been looked at as a more accurate assessment of the best defenders in the game. They’re also closely tied with one of the main defensive metrics, Business Information Systems’ Defensive Runs Saved.

Many times, the Fielding Bible winner coincides with the best player at the position by DRS.

This time, it did not, as Kinsler ranked first in DRS (20), but second in Ultimate Zone Rating (13.0) and Total Zone Total Fielding (14) behind Pedroia.

Here are the remainder of the honorees:

First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
Third base: Josh Donaldson, Oakland A’s
Shortstop: Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves
Left field: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
Center field: Juan Lagares, New York Mets
Right field: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros

The Gold Glove Awards will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Steven Moya named AFL All-Star

Manager Lance Parrish and his star slugger, Steven Moya, make quite a team.

The 6-foot-7, 23-year-old Moya earned Eastern League MVP honors under the tutelage of Parrish at Double-A Erie this season, as well as Tigers Minor League Player of the Year honors.

Now, after spending time together in the Arizona Fall League, the twosome will be representing the Tigers in next weekend's AFL All-Star Game.

Rosters for the contest, which starts at 7 p.m. EST Saturday evening, and will be broadcast on MLB Network, were announced Monday.

Parrish earned the honors of being the skipper for the West Division All-Stars by having his Glendale Desert Dogs in first place as of last weekend.

Through Monday, Moya was hitting .286, with a Glendale team-leading 22 total bases (1 home run, 1 triple, 3 doubles), and tied for the team lead with eight RBI. He also has 16 strikeouts and four walks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Miguel Cabrera appears to be in good spirits, post surgery

Miguel Cabrera had surgery on his right ankle on Wednesday, the team announced two days later.

Initially intended just to remove bone spurs, the doctors encountered a surprise stress fracture while they were in there.

[Here's the full story on his surgery]

The slugger appeared to be in good spirits, though, in a photo posted to his fan page on Facebook, which can be seen here.

Cabrera will be re-examined in three months' time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Brewers hire Tigers assistant coach Darnell Coles as hitting coach

DETROIT — Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said there would be no changes on the team’s coaching staff after last season, but that didn’t preclude someone leaving for another job.

Assistant hitting coach Darnell Coles returned to the Milwaukee Brewers organization after one year with the Tigers, leaving one hole for the team to fill.

He replaces Johnny Narron, who was let go after the season.

Coles spent two seasons as the Brewers’ minor league hitting coordinator before two more seasons as the manager at Double-A Huntsville, allowing him to get to know a lot of the younger players on the big-league club. He’d been named as manager of the Brewers’ Triple-A club in Nashville shortly before accepting the job with the Tigers.

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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Friday, October 3, 2014

Rajai Davis leaves Game 2 of ALDS with 'tightness'

Rajai Davis has been questionable almost from the moment he sprained cartilage in his pelvic region last weekend.

He was a last-minute inclusion on the Detroit Tigers’ playoff roster, and a game-time decision for both of the first two games of the American League Division Series.

So it really wasn’t a surprise when he hobbled his way to first base on for a single — a fourth-inning shot into the left-field corner that would’ve been a double for almost any player in baseball — Davis was removed from the game.

According to the Tigers, the diagnosis was “tightness.” He’s still day-to-day.

“It looked like he was struggling. I checked with him multiple times, and Kevin (Rand, the head trainer) checked with him multiple times,” manager Brad Ausmus said after pinch-hitting for Davis late in Thursday’s Game 1.

Ezequiel Carrera came on as a pinch runner for Davis while the Orioles were changing pitchers in the inning.

Lineups for Game 2 of ALDS, Tigers at Orioles

G2: at Baltimore, Friday, Oct. 3, 12:07 p.m.
Wei-Yin Chen, LHP vs. Justin Verlander, RHP
TV: TBS (Brian Anderson PBP, Dennis Eckersley/Joe Simpson color)
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) and AM (1270), WMGC-FM (105.1 — ESPN feed)

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

Pitcher: Justin Verlander, RHP (15-12, 4.54 ERA)

Nick Markakis, RF
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Adam Jones, CF
Nelson Cruz, DH
Steve Pearce, 1B
J.J. Hardy, SS
Ryan Flaherty, 3B
Caleb Joseph, C
Jonathan Schoop, 2B

Pitcher: Wei-Yin Chen, LHP (16-6, 3.54 ERA)

Thursday's stories:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tigers finish with 2nd-best local TV ratings in MLB, best primetime ratings in Detroit

While the Detroit Tigers may not have topped the 3 million fan mark this season, people were watching.

Since the start of the 2014 season, Tigers telecasts on Fox Sports Detroit averaged 156,000 viewers and a 8.59 rating in prime time, making it the most-viewed television programming in Detroit, more than 70 percent higher than the next-best competitor.

Detroit also has the second-highest local TV ratings in baseball, the 7.72 rating (including afternoon games), behind only the St. Louis Cardinals (7.89).

“The passion of Detroit fans is incredible. Tigers fans, far and wide, love this team,” said Greg Hammaren, senior vice president and general manager of Fox Sports Detroit. “This is the best time of year and we’re thrilled to continue to bring the best coverage of Tigers baseball through our postgame coverage every night.”

FSD does not carry postseason games, but will have a postgame show — the hour-long “Tigers Live Postseason Edition” — after each playoff contest.

Lineups for Game 1 of ALDS; Rajai Davis starts in CF

The big key for the playoff roster's composition — the availability of Rajai Davis, after last week's weird pelvic injury — was still in question, even after the Tigers released their 25-man list Thursday morning. There was a possibility that they were carrying Davis, hoping that he'd be ready in a few days.

When the lineup for Game 1 came out, though, he was in it.

Game 1: at Baltimore's Orioles Park at Camden Yards
Thursday, Oct. 2, 5:37 p.m.
TV: TBS (Brian Anderson PBP, Dennis Eckersley/Joe Simpson color)
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) and AM (1270), 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
Rajai Davis, CF

Pitcher: Max Scherzer, RHP (18-5, 3.15 ERA)

Nick Markakis, RF
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Adam Jones, CF
Nelson Cruz, DH
Steve Pearce, 1B
J.J. Hardy, SS
Ryan Flaherty, 3B
Nick Hundley, C
Jonathan Schoop, 2B

Pitcher: Chris Tillman, RHP (13-6, 3.34 ERA)

Tigers playoff roster for 2014 ALDS vs. Orioles

The Tigers released their playoff roster for the American League Division Series against the Orioles today. The big concern, Rajai Davis, was included on the roster. If he had not been, the roster might've been different.

Hernan Perez got the nod over Tyler Collins.

Kyle Lobstein got the nod in the bullpen over Blaine Hardy or Jim Johnson, while Hernan Perez got the last spot on the bench, over Tyler Collins.

It ended up being pretty close to what I'd predicted earlier this week.

Max Scherzer, RHP
David Price, LHP
Justin Verlander, RHP
Rick Porcello, RHP

CL: Joe Nathan, RHP
SU: Joba Chamberlain, RHP
SU: Joakim Soria, RHP
MR: Anibal Sanchez, RHP
MR/LR: Kyle Lobstein, LHP
MR: Al Alburquerque, RHP
LOOGY: Phil Coke, LHP

1B: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Ian Kinsler
SS: Andrew Romine
3B: Nick Castellanos
C: Alex Avila
DH: Victor Martinez

CF: Rajai Davis 
RF: Torii Hunter
LF: J.D. Martinez

C: Bryan Holaday
UT: Don Kelly
UT: Eugenio Suarez
OF: Ezequiel Carrera
IF: Hernan Perez

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tickets for potential ALCS games go on sale Thursday

The day the Tigers begin their postseason run with Game 1 of the American League Division Series, tickets for their potential games in the AL Championship Series go on sale.

Beginning at noon on Thursday, Oct. 2, tickets for any potential ALCS games go on sale at noon, exclusively on the team's website, Sale of tickets through the box office or over the phone begins a day later, on Friday. Limit is 12 tickets per customer.

Should the Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS, and advance to a fourth straight ALCS, they would host at least two, and as many as four games at Comerica Park in the championship round.

If the Kansas City Royals win the other ALDS, the Tigers/Orioles winner would host Games 1 (Oct. 10) and 2 (Oct. 11), as well as Games 6 (Oct. 17) and 7 (Oct. 18), if necessary. If the top-seeded Angels win that series, the Tigers/Orioles winner would host Games 3 (Oct. 13), 4 (Oct. 14) and 5 (Oct. 15).

Tickets still remain for the Tigers' ALDS home games against the Orioles — Game 1 on Sunday, Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m., and Game 2 on Monday, Oct. 6 — and are available through the box office, or by phone.