Tigers ready to ‘move on,’ atone for sweep by Indians
Detroit — Wanna talk some more about the Cleveland Indians?
Better find a different clubhouse.
The Tigers are pretty much sick of it.
“What happened (with) Cleveland, it happened,” former Indians star and Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez said after the Tigers beat the Marlins, 10-3, on Wednesday. “You can’t get it back.
“I mean, move on. Move on. You can’t get stuck on that Cleveland series. We’re 0-9 against Cleveland. If you get stuck on that, you can’t play baseball.”
The Tigers, by most accounts, on their final home stand before the All-Star break, going 6-3 with sweeps of the Seattle Mariners (four games) and Marlins (two games).
They then got their behinds handed to them in between in a three-game sweep by the first-place Indians.
Fans, understandably, want to focus on the downfalls.
“I’m in here,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “So I don’t see the panic.
“A 6-3 home stand, good. Being swept by the Indians in the season series, not good. But we’ve got a chance to atone for that.”
After a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, which starts Thursday night, the Tigers then get three more against the Indians.
Daniel Norris, Wednesday’s winning pitcher, will make his next start against Cleveland in the series opener.
And he’s looking forward to turning an 0-9 record into a 1-9 mark.
“I’m excited,” Norris said after striking out eight Marlins over five innings. “They’ve obviously played well against us. I’m excited to go out there and shut them down.
“We go out there every time and want to shut the opposition down.
“So I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
After this coming series, the Tigers and Indians won’t play their final seven games against each other until September, when both teams hope to be in a playoff chase.
A lot will depend if the Tigers can flip the script against an Indians team that has outscored them, 60-20, and leads them by seven games in the American League Central.
Letting it go
Ausmus said Norris’ first start on June 23 was crisper than Wednesday’s.
Norris, interestingly, was more pleased with Wednesday’s.
Norris struck out a career-high eight and was able to gut through five innings, despite having thrown 57 pitches through two innings and 76 through three.
Getting aggressive the final three innings was the key, Norris said.
“Early on, I was just trying to throw a get-me-over fastball,” Norris said. “Later on, I was just really letting the ball go and challenging the guys.
“Here it is, hit it. It’s easier for me to command the ball better that way, too. It’s more of a mental approach.”
Norris allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in the first two innings, and no runs on three hits and no walks over the last three innings.
Around the horn
Before the top of the fifth inning, Ausmus and trainer Kevin Rand came out to left field. There, it looked like they were checking on Cameron Maybin.
Turns out, they were checking on Justin Upton, who had a little bit of a hip flare-up the previous half-inning during his at-bat that ended in an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
Upton said it wasn’t from the swing, but rather a cramp that popped up when he got in his stance.
“Yeah, I was just cramping up a little bit,” Upton said. “I had to get some more fluids in me in between innings.
“It bothered me a little bit.”
Upton stayed in for the rest of the game and said it’s not a big issue, though he was noticeably slow getting down the line his next time up. On a grounder to short in the seventh inning, Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria bobbled the ball but still got him out.
... Nine home runs have been hit the last three fifth innings at Comerica Park — four by the Indians last Sunday, and five by the Tigers against the Marlins (three Tuesday and two Wednesday).
On deck: Rays
Series: Four games, Thursday-Sunday, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 4:10 p.m. Saturday, 1:10 p.m. Sunday
Series probables: Thursday — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-4, 3.81) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.93). Friday — RHP Michael Fulmer (7-2, 2.40) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (2-8, 5.32). Saturday — RHP Justin Verlander (7-6, 4.30) vs. LHP Blake Snell (1-2, 3.54). Sunday — RHP Mike Pelfrey (7-2, 5.02) vs. RHP Chris Archer (4-11, 4.76)
Zimmermann: The consensus ace of the staff, it’s been a struggle lately — 6.48 ERA his last seven starts.
Odorizzi: He’s been tough on the Tigers in three career starts, but he’s hit a rough spot recently, especially his last time out.