Tigers' Wolf refusing to look beyond next start

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Randy Wolf isn't trying to be presumptuous or get ahead of himself, but he was asked a question.

At the age of 39 and after two strong starts with the Tigers, has he given any thought to playing beyond this season?

"I want to pitch for as long as I can, without being one of those guys who starts inventing things out there," said Wolf, who allowed a run and five singles in seven innings in the 2-0 loss to the Angels Thursday. "If I can pitch the way I can pitch, I am going to pitch for as long as I can. You only have one shot to do this. When you retire, that's it, there's no coming back.

"I love playing and I love preparing. But obviously, my concern right now isn't on next year or even next month. My concern is on my next start."

Wolf has yet to allow an extra-base hit in 14 innings. The two walks in the sixth inning Thursday, one of which scored, are the only two walks he's allowed.

"He probably falls under that crafty veteran category," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He never gives in. He throws all four pitches at any time. He has an exceptional game plan going in. He does a lot of the pregame planning himself, as opposed to relying on the pitching coach or the catcher.

"And he competes."

It took Wolf about four innings or so in his last start to settle in and slow the game down to a manageable pace for himself. When that happened, he was able to start dropping his signature pitch — the knee-buckling, ultra-slow curveball.

"That's an important part of my game, throwing that for strikes, getting ahead of guys with it," Wolf said. "I felt comfortable and I was able to throw it early in counts."

The Angels got their fill of it. He was throwing it anywhere from 66 to 69 mph, with late and sharp break.

"I've gone as slow as 49 mph," he said. "I'll get in the 50s. I learned a long time ago, when I get the curve in the 70s, it's too hard."

He was tagged for five straight singles and four runs in the third inning of his first start. This time, damage control was much better.

"The first start was something to build on," he said. "I could've done better than I did in slowing the game down and limiting the damage. Today I felt a lot better about that part of the game.

"I was able to make pitches when I needed to and limit the damage and go deep in the game."

Gose picked

It wasn't one of Anthony Gose's best days running the bases – which was significant since he was the Tigers' only baserunner against Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.

Gose was picked off first base by catcher Carlos Perez in the third and caught stealing in the sixth. It was the fourth time he's been picked off and 10th time caught stealing (19-for-29).

"It's a learning process," Ausmus said. "He's gotten caught and picked off a little more frequently than he should, but I think overall — if you watch Rajai Davis, he has been doing it a long time and he's got a good feel for what's happening in front of him and what the pitcher's doing.

"I think Anthony's still learning, at this point."

Ausmus doesn't think Gose has lost any confidence on the base paths.

"I would say he's still fearless on the bases," he said. "But I think base stealing, it's more than just raw speed. There's a little bit of feel to what the pitcher's doing, what the situation is, when the best time to go is. I think he's still learning that, still figuring that out."

Asked if Gose still had the green light to steal when he wanted, Ausmus said, "You don't need to know that."

Around the horn

Ausmus was asked why Nick Castellanos was on the field defensively in the ninth inning. He wound up making an error on a ground ball by Mike Trout.

Tigers pitcher Randy Wolf has yet to allow an extra-base hit in 14 innings

"I've never taken Nick out of the game for defense when we were behind in the game," he said.