Tigers bats go into hibernation
Detroit -- Take away the 9-1 win against the White Sox Sunday, and the Tigers had scored 15 runs in their last eight games coming into the game Friday. This after they scored 51 in their first seven.
"It happened when I was a playing, too," Ausmus said. "Good offensive teams, they seem to go into lulls for whatever reason. But this is a good offensive club and we expect to hit over the long haul."
The cold temperatures have been part of the problem during this home stand, as has some quality pitching from the opponents.
In the first seven of this 10-game home stand, catchers Alex Avila and James McCann (4 for 24 combined), Miguel Cabrera (6 for 22), Ian Kinsler (4 for 27) and Victor Martinez (3 for 16) are a combined 17 for 90 (.191), with five doubles, one triple and three RBI.
"We're fine," shortstop Jose Iglesias said. "We will hit better on some days than others…It's baseball. The most important thing is we are healthy and we're going out there and competing again tonight."
Reliever Bruce Rondon (biceps tendonitis) threw a 20-pitch bullpen on Thursday. He threw all fastballs.
Ausmus said he was scheduled to play catch on Friday and, "spin a couple of breaking balls," he said.
Around the horn
… For the second straight game, Ausmus has moved Avila to the seventh spot ahead of Castellanos (eighth) in the batting order. The reason: to break up what would be four consecutive right-handed hitters. Asked why he made the move now and not earlier this season, he said, "I think Alex is swinging the bat a little better, so I feel like there is less risk involved."
… Ausmus said he is seeing gradual progress with Victor Martinez and his surgically-repaired left knee. "He's been better the last few days for sure," he said. "He started to look good at the end of spring training. I don't know if it was when he came out of the Cleveland game (April 11) or when he made that bad swing in Pittsburgh, but he kind of went downhill for a couple days. But the last few, he's looked better."