Though Justin Verlander won’t make his scheduled start, the Detroit Tigers are having little trouble supporting whomever takes the mound at Progressive Field.
They’ll look to continue that trend Wednesday and complete a series sweep with their seventh straight road win over the Cleveland Indians.
Shortly after Tuesday’s 7-3 victory, Detroit (37-34) announced that some back stiffness would prevent Verlander from making his third start since a season-opening stint on the disabled list for a strained right triceps.
"He could probably go out there," manager Brad Ausmus said. "We’re just going to be cautious and make sure he’s healthy. We want to get rid of it before he starts again."
Verlander is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA in two starts since making his season debut June 13 versus Cleveland (32-38). The right-hander hopes he won’t miss more than this start.
"It’s just kind of lingered a hair longer than we thought, trying to get over the hump," he said. "In talking with our trainers and our coaching staff, they just don’t really think at this point that it’s worth it and push it and risk further injury."
Right-hander Buck Farmer, who allowed seven runs and nine hits in five-plus innings of a 12-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his only outing this season May 28, was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to fill in.
Though the Tigers have scored six runs for Farmer while he’s gone 0-2 with a 14.29 ERA in three career starts dating to August, they’ve averaged 8.0 and batted .340 to win all five meetings at Progressive Field this season.
Detroit has scored at least seven runs in each of its last six at Cleveland, where it’s won 11 of 12 and the Indians have dropped eight of their last 11.
Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each had two hits and Yoenis Cespedes drove in two more runs as the Tigers won their third in a row. Cabrera has hit .619 (26 for 42) while Detroit has gone 9-2 against the Indians in 2015.
Martinez is 7 for 21 (.333) with seven RBIs in five games since missing a little more than a month with knee inflammation. Cespedes has five RBIs in the series and is batting .378 in his last nine road contests.
Cabrera, Cespedes and Martinez are a combined 7 for 12 this season versus Carlos Carrasco (8-6, 4.35 ERA), who is 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA against the Tigers in 2015. The right-hander dropped to 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA at home this month after he allowed two of his three runs on solo homers over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday.
"You never want to see the homers, but two solo homers and a sac fly," manager Terry Francona said. "On a lot of nights, we’re probably saying he pitched pretty well."
Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis has hit safely in 18 consecutive contests and is batting .505 with 15 RBIs during a 27-game home hitting streak that is tied for the team’s second-longest since 1914. The record of 31 was set by Hal Trosky in ’36.
Kipnis, however, is concerned only with helping the Indians turn things around.
"We’re just going to have to play better baseball," said Kipnis, who is hitting .354 versus Detroit this season. "It’s a matter of going to the ball park each day and going out and doing it."