Rain, travel wreak havoc on Tigers' sleep patterns
Chicago – It was going to be suboptimal either way.
After a hard-fought 7-6 loss in Houston Thursday night, the Tigers got to their hotel in Chicago at 4 a.m. (CT) Friday, expecting to play a doubleheader against the White Sox starting at 4:10 p.m.
Since they were already up and at the ballpark, the news that the first game – the makeup from the April 5 rainout – was again postponed was not in any way helpful.
“It just boils down to sitting around all day,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Just sit around like it was a normal night game, with a quick turnaround and play two tomorrow.”
No rest for the wicked. The rain fell hard around 4 p.m. in Chicago, but the regularly scheduled game was still set to start at 8:10 p.m. (ET). The twice postponed makeup was moved up a day – meaning the Tigers, after another late night, will play a straight doubleheader against the White Sox on Saturday.
“It can hit you at any point depending on how tired you are,” Ausmus said. “Saturday may be the worst day, especially that second game. And it could carry over to Sunday (2:10 p.m. game), too. Hopefully after this we can get back on a regular schedule.”
Ausmus will try to offset the fatigue by resting his regulars over the three games, which will be played in less than 24 hours. He rested the right side of his infield on Friday – second baseman Ian Kinsler and first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
“A handful of guys will get one of the three games off between tonight and tomorrow,” Ausmus said.
The decision to sit Kinsler and Cabrera Friday was based, too, on their history against White Sox starter, and former Tiger, Mike Pelfrey. Kinsler is 4-for-21 and Cabrera 6-for-28 against him.
“If you are going to give guys a night off, it might as well be against a guy they’ve not done as well against,” Ausmus said.
John Hicks, just called up from Toledo to replace James McCann (left hand laceration), got the start at first and Andrew Romine started at second.
The postponement also forced right-hander Buck Farmer to wait another day to make his spot start.
He was called up as the 26th man to pitch in the makeup game.
He will pitch in the first game on Saturday.
“We had to pitch Matthew Boyd tonight or it would have messed up our rotation going forward,” Ausmus said.
Michael Fulmer will pitch the second game Saturday and Jordan Zimmermann will work on Sunday.
Mud Hen battery
Because of their recent familiarity, Ausmus will likely use Hicks to catch Farmer on Saturday. The two have worked together the last two seasons in Toledo.
“I know what he wants to do and that helps both of us,” Hicks said. “We have a comfort level with each other.”
Hicks, though, has been playing a lot of right field and first base for the Mud Hens as the Tigers explore ways of getting his bat to the big leagues. But he did catch for the Mud Hens on Thursday.
“I am a lot more comfortable there than at the other spots,” he said.
He also enjoys the process of putting together scouting reports a lot more at the big-league level, where the analytics department prepares reams of data and video to help research hitters.
“Most of the (scouting report) stuff down there is just word of mouth,” Hicks said. “I will talk to Doc (Holaday, catcher) and Jeff Pico (pitching coach) and we kind of bounce ideas off each other.
“Here you have so much more information. I’ve already gone through their lineup and wrote down some information that I want. I’ve watched video on them so I have a visual of what each guy looks like and what their approach is going to be.”
Talk about a milestone save. When Astros closer Ken Giles locked down the Tigers in the ninth inning Thursday, it was his 13th save of season.
On a bigger scale, it was the 50,000th save in the Major Leagues since 1969, when saves became an official MLB stat.
So Tigers Dixon Machado is now the answer to a trivia question: Who made the final out in the 50,000th save in MLB history?