Chicago — On Wednesday, the Tigers are bringing two of their top pitching prospects to Chicago — not to join the roster, but to throw a bullpen session in front of manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson.
No. 3 prospect Matt Manning, who made his final start of the season at Double-A Erie on Monday, and No. 5 prospect Beau Burrows will be flown in.
“The basic theme of this is, with Rick Anderson here now, he’s had a chance to see some of the other guys at big-league camp and in other places,” said David Littlefield, Tigers vice president of player development. “And I thought it’d be a good opportunity to get some eyes on a couple of guys who have done really well and are high prospects.
“It’s just a chance for Rick to see them and start developing a relationship as these guys get closer (to the big leagues).”
Manning, who in nine starts at High-A Lakeland had 65 strikeouts in 51.1 innings and limited opponents to a .176 batting average, pitched six shutout, three-hit innings in his Double-A debut last week.
Burrows threw 134 innings over 26 starts at Erie. He was 10-9 with a 4.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts.
Shane Greene, who gave up two home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Tigers' 4-2 loss Monday, had thrown 30 pitches in a two-run outing in New York on Sunday.
He's given up six runs in his last five outings.
So, manager Ron Gardenhire was asked if he considered other options for the ninth inning Monday.
"He threw one time in four days," Gardenhire said. "He's our closer. He gets the ball. He just made two bad pitches. That's silly to think we'd go with someone else. No. He gets the ball."
There doesn't seem to be anything physically or mechanically wrong with Greene. He adamantly said he was fine on both counts. But he is not locating his pitches well. Both home runs were on two-seam fastballs, up and over the plate.
"It's about making pitches," Gardenhire said. "If you leave them up in this league, they whack you. And those balls were up and over the plate."
Greene, as he typically does, stood up and answered all the questions afterward. But he didn't offer much insight into his struggles. When asked what he needed to fix going forward, what his plan was going forward, he said, "Don't let it happen again.
"Just hope the sun comes up tomorrow and that I'll get the job done."
Tigers lefty Daniel Stumpf reminded Gardenhire Sunday, after he left him in the bullpen against a couple of left-handed hitters in the eighth inning Sunday, that Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is 0-for-2 against him.
“I said, ‘OK stud,’” Gardenhire said, laughing. “Maybe if he was 0-for-15 with eight punch-outs, I might’ve thought about it. But 0-for-2? I didn’t look at the video to see how hard those balls were hit. That was funny though.”
Truth was, Gardenhire was never going to bring in Stumpf or any other left-hander in the eighth inning Sunday, with Stanton, a right-handed hitter, looming large on the Yankees bench.
“He was there,” Gardenhire said. “I know at one point one of their coaches was wanting him to hit. We were watching. I had Stumpf up but I wasn’t going to bring him in and face Stanton. They had three opportunities to bring him in and the other guy they brought up had really been struggling.”
Gardenhire stuck with right-hander Victor Alcantara, with the tying runs on base, to face switch-hitter Neil Walker and finally left-handed power hitter Greg Bird. Anybody but Stanton.
“I stuck with Alcantara and (Bird) almost got us,” Gardenhire said. “He hit it to the fence. But he’d been struggling and we were going to take our chances with that kid. I didn’t want to see Stanton. He’s the last guy I wanted to see at the plate.”
Around the horn
Norris (calf cramps) is on track to make his next start Friday against St. Louis at Comerica Park, Gardenhire said.
... Niko Goodrum hit his 16th home run. That's the most by a Tigers rookie since 2003 when Craig Monroe hit 23 and Eric Munson hit 18.
… Per Elias Sports Bureau, the quartet of Niko Goodrum (1), Ronnie Rodriguez (3), Dawel Lugo (3) and Victor Reyes (4) did something no group of Tigers rookies had done since Aug. 6, 1939. They combined for 11 hits, second in team history since Fred Hutchinson (4), Frank Croucher (3), Benny McCoy (3) and Barney McCosky (2) combined for 12 against the Red Sox in 1939.
Tigers at White Sox
First pitch: 8:10 p.m., Tuesday, Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
RHP Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.66), White Sox: He still leads the big leagues in earned runs allowed (95), but you wouldn’t know that by his last outing against the Tigers. Last Saturday he checked them on a run and three hits over seven innings. He’s limited the Tigers to a .223 average and .372 slugging in four starts.
LHP Francisco Liriano (3-9, 4.96), Tigers: Command inconsistencies continue to bedevil him. He is averaging 5.2 walks per nine innings, his WHIP is 1.542 and his FIP (fielding independent pitching) is a gaudy 5.78 (against an ERA of 4.96), which means he’s actually pitched in some good fortune on balls put in play.