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Although he was technically not needed in relief over the last three days, Detroit Tigers reliever Brayan Villarreal was reportedly unavailable during the entire Baltimore series according to manager Jim Leyland.
Leyland told the Detroit Free Press after Sunday's game that Villarreal suffered a strained neck muscle while shagging a fly ball during a Thursday workout in Baltimore. The veteran manager also revealed that he is slightly worried about his talented right-hander right now, even while Tigers trainer Kevin Rand described the injury as essentially a stiff neck. "I have concern," Leyland said. "Others don't."
The 25-year-old Venezuelan-born pitcher has made 25 appearances for the Tigers this season, sporting an impressive 1.55 ERA. He has also fanned a whopping 40 batters in just 29 innings during what amounts to his sophomore campaign, and truly looks to be morphing into one of the American League's top set-up men. Hopefully for both he and the Tigers this neck injury will only keep him on the sidelines for a few days and not bleed into a DL-stint.
Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander wasted little time bouncing back from his All-Star Game shellacking on Sunday afternoon, as the Tigers' ace tossed eight shutout innings with three hits to pick up his 10th victory of the season.
Verlander threw 74 of his 117 pitches for strikes in the outing, and routinely confused Baltimore hitters en route to recording eight strikeouts. The strikeout total marked his eighth time this year alone where the reigning MVP has whiffed at least eight batters in a start, and bumped his season total up to 144.
With Verlander making quick work of the Orioles, Detroit hitters knew they wouldn't need to produce much in the scoring column in order to get a win. So it made perfect sense then that leadoff hitter Austin Jackson would step to the plate in the very first inning and smack a solo home run to right field on the second pitch of the game. Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila would later add RBI singles to pad the lead, before a Miguel Cabrera eighth inning blast added yet another tally, but Jackson's quick strike would prove to be all Verlander needed.
Next up for the Tigers is a big four game homestand with the Los Angeles Angels. Monday's series opener, pitting Detroit's Rick Porcello against the Angels' Ervin Santana, will be televised nationally on ESPN.
There seem to be no ill effects of a rough All-Star start for Justin Verlander. He has shut out the Baltimore Orioles over the first five innings in his first start since the break. The Detroit Tigers lead 2-0 after five.
Verlander has allowed just two hits and two walks, while striking out four batters over the first five innings.
The hot-hitting Austin Jackson got things going quickly with a leadoff home run against Miguel Gonzalez to start the game. Jhonny Peralta added an RBI single in the second inning to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
After an extra innings loss on Saturday, the Tigers will be looking to hang on and take the three-game series from Baltimore.
The last start for Justin Verlander was his worst of the year. Luckily for the Detroit Tigers it came in the All-Star Game. He'll look to get back on track Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles in the rubber game of a three-game series.
Here are Sunday's lineups:
After a brutal 13-inning loss Saturday night that saw Baltimore catcher Taylor Teagarden hit a walk-off two-run homer in his Orioles debut, the Detroit Tigers look to ace Justin Verlander in the rubber game of a three-game set at Camden Yards.
The Tigers plated three in the ninth inning off Orioles closer Jim Johnson, but Detroit relievers Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit both blew saves as the Tigers' six-game winning streak ended.
Verlander (9-5, 2.58) allowed five runs in the first inning of Tuesday's All-Star Game in Kansas City, but the big righty will be looking for his fifth straight regular-season win.
He'll be opposed by Baltimore rookie Miguel Gonzalez, who allowed just one run in his starting debut against the Angels and will be making only his fifth MLB appearance.
A win Sunday would provide the Tigers with some nice momentum as they head home for a crucial seven-game homestand that will see the Angels and White Sox come to town.
The Tigers came up short in 13 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night from Camden Yards, as a pair of blown saves from the bullpen ruined Detroit's chance at seven straight victories.
Jim Leyland's squad appeared to have the game wrapped up on two separate occasions in the extra innings, but a blown save by Jose Valverde (his fourth) in the 11th inning and then another by Joaquin Benoit (his second) in the 13 inning each negated the Tigers' due diligence with the bat. Benoit, who stayed in the game in the 13th inning after serving up a game-tying home run to Baltimore's J.J. Hardy, took the loss by yielding a two-run walk-off home run to catcher Taylor Teagarden.
Offensively, third baseman Miguel Cabrera and outfielder Quintin Berry each led the way for the Tigers with a pair of 3-for-6 nights from the plate. Berry chipped in a pair of RBI from the No. 9 spot in the lineup as well, and nearly recorded the game-winning hit in the top of the 13th before Benoit got his hands on the game.
Despite the loss, the Tigers remain just four games out of first place in the American League Central. Detroit will send a recently-roeughed up Justin Verlander to the hill on Sunday in an effort to take the three-game series.
On Saturday, the Tigers go after their second win in their series at Baltimore to pen the second half of the 2012 MLB season. Detroit will have right-hander Max Scherzer (8-5, 4.72 ERA) on the hill Saturday afternoon at Baltimore's Camden Yards. He will be opposed by left-handed starter Wei-Yin Chen of the Orioles.
No current member of the Tigers has ever faced Chen, who comes into the contest with a season record of 7-5, with a 3.93 ERA. Scherzer is 3-1 lifetime against the Orioles with a 4.05 ERA.
The game, scheduled for Fox Sports national broadcast in certain parts of the country, will start at 4:05 p.m.
Here is the starting lineup that Tigers' manager Jim Leyland will go with on Saturday:
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Ramon Santiago, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
7. Ryan Raburn, RF
8. Gerald Laird, C
9. Quintin Berry, LF
The Detroit Tigers are going to be without pitcher Drew Smyly for a little while, as he was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain. Luis Marte has been recalled from Toledo, according to the team.
Drew Smyly has been placed on 15-day DL retro to 7/7 with a right intercostal strain. Luis Marte has been recalled from Toledo. #tigers— Brian Britten (@BBritten_Tigers) July 14, 2012
Jacob Turner, considered to be the Tigers' top pitching prospect, is expected to start in Smyly's place on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.
Smyly is the Tigers' only left-handed starter, so they will need him back as soon as possible, especially if they want to make the second half of the season much better than the first. They're on track to do that so far after winning their first game back from the All-Star break and adding to their winning streak, but Smyly's presence in the lineup is still important.
After winning their first game back from the All-Star break against the Baltimore Orioles, the Tigers will look to have a similar result on Saturday in an effort to take control of this weekend series. The Tigers are basically picking up where they left off before the break, when they'd won five straight games. A victory on Saturday would push Detroit to seven consecutive victories.
Take a look at the game schedule and broadcast information right here:
Date/Time: Saturday, July 14, 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Online streaming: MLB.tv
The Detroit Tigers exploded out of the gate to start the second half of the season. Doug Fister pitched his best game of the year and Miguel Cabrera hit a team-best 19th home run as the Tigers tore through the Baltimore Orioles with a 7-2 win on Friday night.
Fister worked seven innings, striking out eight and allowing just one run on three hits. The win moved him to 3-6 for the season and dropped his ERA to 4.39.
Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta both went deep in the fifth inning, piling on four runs to Detroit's lead.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel left after three innings with a leg injury. He allowed two runs before the Tigers' bats ate into the Baltimore bullpen.
The series continues on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. from Camden Yards.
The Orioles, easily one of the sport's biggest surprises of the first half at 45-40 overall, will give the ball to 29-year-old right-hander Jason Hammel to kick off the series. In addition to his impressive 8-5 record, the ground ball specialist Hammel currently sports a 3.47 ERA and has racked up 102 strikeouts on the season. For the Tigers, pitcher Doug Fister will take the mound in search of his third victory of the year.
Offensively, Detroit will employ its usual Austin Jackson-Quintin Berry 1-2 punch atop the order, with Brennan Boesch once again in right field and batting sixth. Continuing his futile quest for production for the second base position, Leyland has opted to kick off the second half with much-maligned infielder Ryan Raburn in the No. 9 spot.
Here are Friday's lineups:
1. Austin Jackson - CF
2. Quintin Berry - LF
3. Miguel Cabrera - 3B
4. Prince Fielder - 1B
5. Delmon Young - DH
6. Brennan Boesch - RF
7. Jhonny Peralta - SS
8. Alex Avila - C
9. Ryan Raburn - 2B
Doug Fister - SP
1. Nick Markakis - RF
2. J.J. Hardy - SS
3. Jim Thome - DH
4. Adam Jones - CF
5. Matt Wieters - C
6. Chris Davis - LF
7. Mark Reynolds - 1B
8. Wilson Betemit - 3B
9. Robert Andino - 2B
Jason Hammel - SP
The Detroit Tigers will kick off the second half of the season in Camden Yards as they travel to Baltimore to face the Orioles.