Verlander unlikely to pitch in All-Star Game
Tigers ace scheduled to start Sunday before Classic
LOS ANGELES -- Justin Verlander's case for his fourth All-Star selection is looking like his strongest case ever. His case for actually pitching in the Midsummer Classic is now looking highly unlikely, the way the Tigers' rotation shakes out.
Thursday is the Tigers' last scheduled off-day before the All-Star break, and there had been legitimate question whether manager Jim Leyland would keep his starting pitchers in their current order and give Verlander an extra day of rest, or move Verlander up a spot to have him start on his regular four days' rest.
After Verlander's two complete-game victories this past week, however, Leyland is giving his ace a break.
"Our rotation will fall in line the rest of the way," Leyland said.
Thus, Verlander's next start will be Saturday against Arizona, rather than Friday. Project his starts out every five days from Saturday, then, and he's on track to pitch on the Sunday before the All-Star break. By rule, pitchers who start on that Sunday are ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. They can still be selected, but they're replaced on the roster by someone who can pitch that day.
Leyland did not talk about any All-Star consideration. Verlander, when asked later, downplayed the importance of it. His 9-3 record and 2.54 ERA seemingly put him in strong consideration for the starting nod, but he indicated his prior experience pitching in the game is the same.
"I'm not sure I'm going anyway," Verlander said. "If I were to be selected and I pitch the last game [beforehand], I've had the opportunity. I've pitched in a couple. That's personal, and that's not what this game is about. It's about winning baseball games for this team. My job is helping this team win games. Give some other guys a chance."
Cabrera to get first rest of season on Tuesday
LOS ANGELES -- Miguel Cabrera has not had a game off to this point this season. He also has never had a base hit in his career against Chad Billingsley, who's slated to start for the Dodgers on Tuesday. Cabrera is 0-for-12 with four strikeouts against Billingsley dating to Cabrera's Florida Marlins tenure and a start here at Dodger Stadium last season.
Put two those facts into consideration, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland is going to use Tuesday's game to get Cabrera a break out of the lineup. It'll be his first game out of the starting lineup since he missed the final six games of last season with an injured ankle.
Victor Martinez will start at first base on Tuesday, Leyland said. He started at first on May 27, but Cabrera was the designated hitter that day. With Interleague Play at a National League park, the DH spot isn't an option, but Leyland said that had nothing to do with it.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
"This is one of those no-brainers," Leyland said. "He plays every day. He gives you everything he's got, every single day, and sometimes you forget. He's so big and strong, you say, 'Well, he doesn't [need a day off].' But he's 0-for-12 against Billingsley, so it's a common-sense one. Two days after that is a day off, so that freshens him up a little bit. You give him a break against a guy who's been tough on him, and you keep Victor's and Alex [Avila's] bats both in the lineup."
It also prepares Cabrera for a long stretch leading into the All-Star break. The Tigers will play 17 straight games without a day off before that, thanks to a makeup game June 27 against the Blue Jays.
Leyland happy to see McKeon back in game
LOS ANGELES -- Jim Leyland managed against Jack McKeon in the Minor Leagues in the 1970s. They were opponents again in the National League in the 1980s and '90s, and they're the only people who have managed the Florida Marlins to World Series titles.
Leyland, for one, loves the Marlins' move to hire McKeon again as interim manager at age 80.
"We go back a long way. I love Jack McKeon," Leyland said. "He's a good guy, done it all in the game. He's done everything. He's been a World Series manager. He had the reputation of Trader Jack when he was a general manager. He' s a character, and a good character, in a good way. He's a smart guy.
"I think he has a good relationship with that owner, obviously. But I think it's a smart move. I really do."
Two current Tigers, Miguel Cabrera and Brad Penny, played for McKeon on that 2003 World Series champion Marlins team.
Boesch, Worth enjoy comforts of home in LA
LOS ANGELES -- Brennan Boesch grew up making the trip to Dodger Stadium with his dad as a fan, watching his favorite players. On Monday, he made the half-hour drive from his family home in Santa Monica as a player.
"It was definitely kind of weird," Boesch said.
Danny Worth went to so many Dodgers games as a teenager, he said, that he'd be doing homework some days in the family car before games. His dad had season tickets for a few years, so he was a regular here for some summers. He was one of those fans who went nuts when Eric Gagne would come in to close a game in the ninth inning.
"It was electric," Worth said.
For both, it was special to be back, even if they were already here last year.
Boesch guessed he'd have around 30 family and friends in attendance Monday night. He was guessing because, unlike last year, he doesn't have to handle ticket requests this year. He's letting his family handle the tickets, which was a huge relief for him.
Instead, he just gets to be a kid playing baseball again. He drove home after the Tigers touched down from Denver, had a nice dinner and slept in his bed at home. He'll do that for the next couple nights.
It's the first time he's been able to spend time at home since last offseason, when he was working out with Worth and other players at Pepperdine University.
Manager Jim Leyland said Magglio Ordonez will play two out of three games in this series. He was in the starting lineup Monday night against Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw.
Brandon Inge went 1-for-4 Monday night in the fifth game of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo. He's batting .190 in his Mud Hens stint as he works his way back from a two-week absence with mononucleosis.
Former Tigers pitcher Bill Slayback performed the national anthem and God Bless America at Monday night's game. Slayback, a California native, pitched in 42 games for the Tigers from 1972-74. In 1973, he recorded a song about Hank Aaron's home run chase that was written by Ernie Harwell.