Detroit — Maybe Tigers rookie catcher Jake Rogers can take a little comfort in what’s going on between Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard and catcher Wilson Ramos.
At least Matthew Boyd isn’t asking to throw to another catcher.
Boyd and Rogers had a rough outing Thursday in the first game of the doubleheader against the Yankees. Whatever pitch plan they developed before the game was quickly scrapped by Boyd and Rogers spent the better part of five innings having his pitch calls shaken off and changed.
“It was tough,” Rogers said before Friday's game. “We just talked. It’s learning, for all of us. You learn from each start and you go from there. We weren’t on the same page a lot of the time, but we’ve talked and we’ll go from there.”
It was just the fourth time Rogers caught Boyd this season, and after the game the Tigers’ ace pointed fingers at himself, not his catcher.
"I didn't do a good job of conveying what I wanted to do," Boyd said. "That's completely on me. I need to do better with that going forward. That's on me that we weren't on the same page."
What Rogers and Boyd went through Thursday is hardly unprecedented. There’s often a lot of push-and-pull between a pitcher and a catcher, even between those who have a long history with each other. It took a couple of years before former Tigers Justin Verlander and Alex Avila got sympatico, and even then they had their moments.
Verlander used to shake off James McCann throughout games his first couple of seasons, just like Boyd shook off Rogers on Thursday. It got to the point where former manager Brad Ausmus pulled McCann into his office and showed him how he used to study hitters and prepare pitch plans in his 18-year career.
Manager Ron Gardenhire told the story Friday of Twins pitcher Carl Pavano not wanting to throw to perennial All-Star Joe Mauer because he set too big a target. For the regular season, Gardenhire let the smaller-bodied Drew Butera catch on Pavano’s day.
“But I also told him, fact of the matter, when the playoffs come, Joe Mauer is catching you,” Gardenhire said, laughing. “So you better throw to him during the season a few times, because I promise you, Joe Mauer will catch you in the playoffs.”
It’s not that extreme between Rogers and Boyd. Gardenhire isn't planning on assigning Boyd a personal catcher.
“It’s just about catching him more and getting comfortable with him,” Rogers said. “I had a plan, and I felt comfortable with this pitch and he felt comfortable with another one. It’s his game out there and I am totally OK with that.
“The more we work together, the better we will be.”
This season, John Hicks has caught Boyd 12 times and Grayson Greiner 11. Boyd has been most effective with Hicks (opponents hitting .214 in those starts).
“Matty said it was on him, he was overthinking too much,” Gardenhire said. “But I still think it needs to be worked out. This should show Jake even more about how important the pregame stuff is. He goes over it. He studies it.
“But some pitchers will get out there and they’ll see something. That’s when they have to explain it (to the catcher). Whether it’s in between innings, or whatever — ‘Next time through I want to do this.’ Instead of shaking, shaking, shaking and it being five innings, three hours and everybody is dying.”
Rogers spent the early part of the season catching the Tigers prized pitching prospects at Double-A Erie — Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Alex Faedo. All three raved about how Rogers calls a game. As he said, it gets back to familiarity and trust.
“Each pitcher is different,” Rogers said. “From Casey to Boyd, you’ve got to get to know them. And the more you work with them, the easier it is. I’ve caught Boyd four times now. We’re still working on it. He likes to look at scouting reports a lot and so do I.
“Really, it’s just trying to find that thin line and ride it with him.”
Regional Tigers network?
Tigers controlling owner Christopher Ilitch said Ilitch Holdings was still studying the prospect of creating a regional in-house television network, which would broadcast Tigers and Red Wings games.
"Fox Sports Detroit has been and is an excellent partner to the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings," he said. "Sports programming on television and across digital platforms is some of the strongest out there. A new regional sports network could be a benefit to our fans, to our teams and to our community.
"So we're going to continue to study it. There's been no determination yet."
Orioles at Tigers
First pitch: 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Comerica Park, Detroit
►RHP Gabriel Ynoa (1-8, 5.79), Orioles: A four-seam (93-94 mph), sinker, slider pitcher, he’s been hit hard all year. The average exit velocity on balls put in play against him, 90.2 mph, is in the bottom eight percentile in baseball. His strikeout rate, 14.3 percent, is in the bottom four percentile.
►LHP Daniel Norris (2-12, 4.72), Tigers: This will be the sixth tandem start for Norris and right-hander Drew VerHagen and the results have been mostly good. The two were part of the Tigers’ 2-0 shutout of the Rays on Aug. 16 and last time out limited the A’s to three runs in 7.1 innings.