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Indians at Tigers: A First Place, FIrst Rate Preview

TIGERS UPDATE:

 They’re 7-4 in June and have a chance to move past the Indians into first place in the AL Central. Verlander is 10-11 in his career against the Tribe, but 6-1 in the last two seasons. Miguel Cabrera is hitting .455 (5-for-11) with two homers against the Tribe this season.

SEASON SERIES:

 Indians lead Tigers, 3-0, this season. Tigers lead, 1,051-1,025, overall.

PITCHING MATCHUPS:

RHP Justin Masterson (5-4, 3.18) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (7-3, 2.89) Tonight at 7:05 p.m.

RHP Fausto Carmona (3-8, 5.71) vs. RHP Brad Penny (5-5, 4.69) Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.

RHP Mitch Talbot (2-3, 4.01) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (8-2, 4.39) Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

INJURY WATCH:

  • RF Magglio Ordonez (right ankle weakness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 11. Ordonez tested his right ankle pregame workouts May 27-28 in Detroit. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Toledo on June 3, and was activated June 13.

  • 3B Brandon Inge (mononucleosis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 1.

  • LHP Brad Thomas (sore left elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 11. He threw batting practice for the first time since his elbow locked up and could be ready for a rehab assignment at some point the week of June 13-20.

  • 2B Carlos Guillen (left knee microfracture surgery in September 2010) went on the 15-day disabled list March 30. He remained at the team’s Florida camp in early April to rehab. By late April, he had begun running. He worked out at Comerica Park in mid-May, taking batting and fielding practice, but then returned to Florida. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 22, and he had stopped doing baseball activities as of Memorial Day weekend. He joined the Tigers for batting practice the second weekend of June but wasn’t expected back until at least the All-Star break.

  • RHP Joel Zumaya (right elbow surgery in July 2010) experienced pain in the elbow during his Feb. 27 spring debut, and he went on the 15-day disabled list March 30. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 18. He had exploratory surgery May 10, and he might be out for the season. He will be evaluated sometime in June.

NEWS/NOTES:

  • LHP Phil Coke came out firing bullets to Tampa Bay, his fastball hitting 95 mph for his first two pitches. He eased off his fastball a couple of innings into the game, but his breaking ball got better and he was able to mix the two effectively through 6 1/3 shutout innings. Coke wound up without a decision, Detroit scoring only one run for him and Tampa Bay tying it in the eighth.

  • RF Magglio Ordonez helped Detroit in his return to the Tigers—but with his arm, not his bat. Ordonez returned to action after being on the disabled list since May 11, and he went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch. Both outs were sharply lined, to second and third, and he looked much stronger at the plate than earlier this season. Where Ordonez helped out the most, though, was turning a seventh-inning flyout to medium right field with one out and the bases loaded into an inning-ending double play with a throw to the plate. The ankle weakness that plagued him since the beginning of the season is gone. He was taken out of the game for defensive reasons following the seventh.

  • RHP Joaquin Benoit gave up the tying run in the eighth inning, the second consecutive appearance he has allowed a run after 10 scoreless outings in a row. Benoit yielded three straight one-out singles—two of them on 1-2 counts—and then a sacrifice fly to right that created a 1-1 tie. Benoit got himself into trouble by getting too many pitches up.

  • 2B Ryan Raburn returned to the lineup after sitting out two games and ended an 0-for-7 skid with a single to short his first time up. It was his only hit of the game, but he looked visibly relaxed at the plate and not at all like the befuddled batter he was in the three games prior to his two-game benching.

  • C Alex Avila had two hits, and he also threw out two runners on the bases and made a key tagout at the plate. Avila’s two hits did not factor into Detroit’s 2-1, 10-inning win over Tampa Bay, but his defensive work did. Avila threw out a runner trying to steal third with one out in the fourth and got PR Sam Fuld when Fuld overslid second on a two-out steal attempt in the ninth. But his biggest contribution was catching a throw and making a sweep tag at the plate on LF Justin Ruggiano, who was trying to score on a medium-depth fly to right. RF Magglio Ordonez made the one-hop throw, and Ruggiano was called out on the play, though replays showed he might have been safe.

  • DH Victor Martinez drove in Detroit’s first run and scored the winning run from first on a one-out triple to right-center by 2B Ramon Santiago in the 10th inning. The presence of Martinez is a key reason managers are reluctantly electing to pitch to 1B Miguel Cabrera. Martinez singled in a run after Cabrera was walked with a runner on second and two outs in the fifth. He is now 18-for-39 (.462) with 16 RBI following a walk to Cabrera this season. Manager Jim Leyland elected not to pinch-run for Martinez following his one-out single in the 10th, and Martinez came all the way around with the winning run on Santiago’s hit.

  • CF Austin Jackson struck out three times, but he also had a pair of singles for another multi-hit game. The resurgent Jackson now has six multi-hit games in his last 14. Neither hit got out of the infield, but that’s one of the things that happen when Jackson is hot.

  • RHP Jose Valverde pitched one inning, a scoreless ninth in a tie game, so manager Jim Leyland would be able to use him for at least two of Detroit’s upcoming three games with Cleveland beginning Tuesday. Leyland will occasionally use Valverde two innings in a tie game if his pitch count is low enough. He threw 19 pitches in his inning, striking out two batters with his split-finger, which he is beginning to use more as the season progresses. He’ll tell Leyland whether he can pitch Tuesday night after he arrives to Comerica Park.

  • LHP David Purcey has been a valuable acquisition for Detroit. Purcey allowed a walk and a single with one out in the 10th inning but wriggled out of trouble via a liner to short that was turned into a double play. Still, Purcey’s ability to pitch scoreless innings has given manager Jim Leyland some late-inning options, either in front of or, in this case, behind RHPs Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. Purcey gained a victory when the Tigers rallied for a run in the bottom of the 10th.

 

Former Indian Victor Martinez.

 

ROSTER:

Rotation:

RHP Justin Verlander

RHP Max Scherzer

RHP Rick Porcello

RHP Brad Penny

LHP Phil Coke

Bullpen:

RHP Jose Valverde (closer)

RHP Joaquin Benoit

LHP Daniel Schlereth

LHP Charlie Furbush

RHP Al Alburquerque

LHP Adam Wilk

LHP David Purcey

Catchers:

Alex Avila

Victor Martinez

Infielders:

1B Miguel Cabrera

2B Ramon Santiago

SS Jhonny Peralta

3B Ryan Raburn

INF Danny Worth

UT Don Kelly

Outfielders:

LF Brennan Boesch

CF Austin Jackson

RF Magglio Ordonez

OF Casper Wells

OF Andy Dirks

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