Detroit finished off its road trip in grand style, sweeping the White Sox and Royals in back-to-back series. Now without so much as a day off in between, the Tigers return home for a 7-game stand before heading out to the East Coast, also without a day off in-between. This will give the Tigers 13 total games in a row without a day off.
Home stand schedule and prospective starters:
Monday May 5 7:08 Max Scherzer vs Jarrod Cosart
Tuesday May 6 7:08 Robbie Ray (L) vs Brett Oberholtzer (L)
Wednesday May 7 7:08 Rick Porcello vs Brad Peacock
Thursday May 8 1:08 Drew Smyly (L) vs Dallas Keuchel (L)
Friday May 9 7:08 Justin Verlander vs Phil Hughes
Saturday May 10 1:08 Max Scherzer vs Kyle Gibson
Sunday May 11 1:08 Robbie Ray (L) vs Samuel Deduno
The interest in the current Astros series of course (besides featuring two lefties for each team) is the debut of Robbie Ray, the key piece in the Doug Fister trade.
As Ray comes up of course, the key question is who will go down? It’s got to be Phil Coke, right? The story linked above points out that dumping Coke will leave the Tigers with only one lefty reliever in the bullpen, but if Ray stays, won’t Smyly be back in the pen? Besides, Coke doesn’t get out lefties any better or even as well as any of the right-handers, so I don’t consider him a lefty in the bullpen. At any rate, it would be logistically easier to simply demote Jose Ortega or Justin Miller; I expect Ortega to get the short straw this time. (The team has already made room on the 40-man roster by outrighting Jordan Lennerton to Toledo).
At 26%, the Astro–otherwise known as Bud Selig’s gift to the American League– have the 3rd highest swing-and-miss percentage in all of baseball. Look for Max to light up the K column of the scoreboard.
When Prince Fielder was traded, there were some people (not here, to our credit) who wondered where the RBIs would come from, and who suggested that everyone would just walk Cabrera without a Big Batsman behind him.
The season is now exactly 1/6 of the way over, and the 1/6 MVP of the Tigers is Victor Martinez, who is quietly picking up the slack from the denatured Miguel Cabrera, and who turns out to be the one they all pitch around–Martinez is now 2nd in the AL with 7 intentional walks (2nd only to Prince Fielder, who has been intentionally walked more than any .690 OPS batter in history).
At any rate, in addition to leading the team with a healthy .901 OPS, Martinez has been the hardest man in baseball to strikeout–only 3 strikeouts in 109 plate appearances–and has been about perfect with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 out. Tonight he added a huge insurance home run to tilt the scales in Max’s favor in a great pitching battle, and here are the Tigers with a 6th consecutive win.