Patchwork Tigers open series with Mariners
The Detroit Tigers haven’t made any trades recently, but they look a lot different than just a couple weeks ago.
Injuries keep piling up, leaving manager Ron Gardenhire scrambling to patch together a lineup and redefine pitching roles. The Tigers begin a six-game homestand Friday with a weekend series against Seattle.
The wounded Tigers have lost five of their last seven games. First baseman Miguel Cabrera and center fielder Leonys Martin landed on the 10-day disabled list with hamstring injuries. Pitchers Jordan Zimmermann (shoulder), Alex Wilson (foot) and Daniel Norris (groin) are also on the DL, and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos sat out Wednesday’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to Texas with a sore knee.
“Yeah, we got people beat up,” Gardenhire said after the game. “That’s why (Thursday) is a really good day off and then we’ll regroup the next day after that when we get back into the weekend. Hopefully, we’ll have a little more help.”
Adding to the Tigers’ frustration is that they’ve fallen just short a majority of the time despite makeshift lineups. Detroit’s last four losses have come by a total of six runs.
“You look at what we’ve done with a depleted lineup,” catcher James McCann said. “We’ve had guys out with illnesses, we’ve had guys out with injury and now we’ve got Martin on the DL, you’ve got Miggy on the DL, you’ve got Castellanos banged up. So you look at our losses, you could very easily flip-flip our win-loss record based on the games we’ve been in.”
The injuries have given a couple of former major leaguers another chance to prove themselves. Infielder Pete Kozma and outfielder Mikie Mahtook were elevated from Triple-A Toledo and gave the club a boost Wednesday.
Kozma hit only the fifth homer of his career in 315 major-league games. Mahtook contributed a triple and an RBI.
Seattle (21-15), which defeated Toronto 9-3 on Thursday, has one injury concern. Center fielder Dee Gordon missed Thursday’s game with a sore right big toe.
Manager Scott Servais will miss the first two games of the series for a different reason. His daughter is receiving a master’s degree at the University of Mississippi.
“This has been in the works for a long time,” Servais told the Seattle Times. “It’s always easier to make those plans in December. And now all of a sudden, it’s here. I’m very proud of all my kids. To accomplish that and get the degree she did, I have to show up.”
Matthew Boyd (1-3, 3.00 ERA) will start the series opener for Detroit (15-21). He lost his last outing Sunday, giving up four runs and six hits in seven innings against Kansas City.
Boyd pitched an inning of relief in his lone career appearance against Seattle in 2016.
He’ll be opposed by another left-hander, Marco Gonzales (3-2, 5.19). In seven starts this season, Gonzales has walked only six batters while striking out 38.
Gonzales wound up with a no-decision in his last start Saturday, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings to the Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners wound up winning that game 9-8 in 11 innings.
“I feel like I threw yesterday,” Gonzales said afterward. “It was quite a ride watching our team battle back.”
Gonzales, who won his previous two starts, has never faced Detroit.