Detroit — It should have been a no-brainer.
It was cold, wet and windy and the meteorologists, professional and amateur, were saying the rain wouldn’t stop before 5 p.m. and the game wouldn’t have started before 7 p.m. Nobody on either team wanted to play baseball in those conditions.
And yet, it took some doing before the game was finally postponed. It will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Tuesday, Aug. 6. But coming to that make-up decision took some negotiating.
“The only reason it took so long is they were trying to get us to play on the first day back in August,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We wanted to play on the second day back.”
The White Sox next two visits to Detroit are in early August and late September. The Tigers will be coming off a three-city west coast trip the first week of August. They will have played 10 games in 11 days over two time zones (Los Angeles, Seattle and Texas) before opening a series with the White Sox on Aug. 5.
Naturally, the Tigers didn’t want to play a doubleheader the first day home. The White Sox are coming from a three-game, one-city trip to Philadelphia.
“We’ll be getting in at 11 or 12 p.m. and they play a 1 p.m. game,” Gardenhire said. “It worked out for them to play that first day, but not for us.”
Finally, after negotiations between Tigers players reps Matthew Boyd and Nick Castellanos, and White Sox player rep Tim Anderson — also talks between Gardenhire and White Sox manager Rick Renteria as well as the two front offices — it was agreed to play the doubleheader on the second day of the series in August.
“The big thing was just getting the player reps to agree,” Gardenhire said. “They finally agreed.”
That will be a rugged patch of schedule for the Tigers. They will play 18 games in 19 days, and going forward, 31 games in 33 days.
Left-hander Daniel Norris, who was scheduled to make his first start of the season Saturday, will start Sunday. He’s already had one start postponed by weather (last Friday in Minneapolis), Gardenhire wasn’t going to skip him again.
“He needs to pitch,” Gardenhire said. “We can’t keep messing around with this kid. He needs to pitch and I want him to pitch.”
The rest of the starting rotation will be pushed back one day.
Taking one for the team
Gardenhire incurred the 78th ejection of his managerial career Friday night. And his motives were pure.
The Tigers, especially starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, were vocally displeased with umpire Todd Tichenor’s interpretation of the strike zone. In the top of the fifth inning, Gardenhire made a proactive decision to confront Tichenor.
“There was a lot going on, a lot of hooting and hollering, lot of yelling,” he said. “And that’s when I know, if my players are going to stay in the game, I had to get all the focus toward me. I didn’t want to get my pitcher thrown out and the guys on the bench were all screaming.”
Gardenhire knew once he raised his arms at Tichenor, he was going to get booted.
“I went up and basically told him, ‘Turn your focus toward me and leave (the players) alone,’” Gardenhire said. “I got the focus on me so everybody else could stay in the game.”
Shortstop Jordy Mercer, on the injured list with a quad injury, may end up playing a couple of rehab games in Toledo while the Tigers are in Boston and Chicago next week.
“He’s not ready to play yet but he’s really close to where we can give him a couple days of rehab,” Gardenhire said. “Then, when he gets back he goes right in there and plays. There’s no definite plan yet, but that’s what we’re thinking.”