MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH
One Detroit deficiency that keeps biting the Tigers in the foot is late-inning offense.
From the seventh inning on, Detroit is punchless.
Detroit got just two hits Friday night in Kansas City -- none after the fifth inning -- and was shut out for the seventh time this season, 1-0.
"I thought we swung the bats better than the results showed," manager Jim Leyland said. "But (KC's Ervin) Santana pitched pretty good and the center fielder (Lorenzo Cain) covered a lot of real estate."
Detroit is 12-22 in one-run and extra-inning games, including 9-13 in one-run games.
In the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, the Tigers were hitting just .227 entering Friday night, with only 90 runs scored in 95 total games. Compare that to a .309 average in the first three innings (185 runs) and a .303 average in the middle three frames (195 runs).
The Tigers are 3-9 in extra innings, which is remarkable considering they have been scoreless in all the 11th, 12th, and 13th innings they have played. Detroit has scored two runs in the 10th and five in the 14th, the longest they have played this year.
Combine that with a bullpen that has been erratic in the late innings over much of the season and it's a wonder Detroit leads Cleveland by 1 1/2 games entering Saturday's schedule.
"We just couldn't get some of the balls to fall in," Leyland said. "We got beat, and tomorrow's another day."
It was possibly in recognition of his team's faltering late-inning performance that Leyland had Andy Dirks running on a pitch to Alex Avila after he had singled with two outs in the fifth. He was thrown out on a sharp throw by Royals catcher Salvador Perez.
There are no powerhouses in the American League, Leyland said just before the All-Star break.
And once they get to the seventh inning tied or behind, you can definitely put his Tigers in that group.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost one
PAST 10 GAMES: 5-5
NEXT: Tigers (Justin Verlander, 9-6, 3.71) at Royals (Jeremy Guthrie, 8-7, 4.25)
--RHP Anibal Sanchez lowered his ERA to 2.85, but was pinned with a 1-0 loss Friday night to the Royals. Sanchez yielded a run in the first, but nothing after that. He allowed four hits, all singles, but walked five. "My command today wasn't the best," Sanchez said. "A lot of times I was behind."
--IF Omar Infante will rejoin the Tigers on Saturday for evaluation of his sprained left ankle. He went on the disabled list July 4. During the All-Star break, Infante ran at half speed at the Tigers' complex in Lakeland, Fla. "I pretty much knew he wasn't going to be ready," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Friday. "He's not ready, and I have no idea when (he will be)."
--LHP Darin Downs threw a light bullpen session Friday. He also threw one Wednesday during the break. He went on the disabled list July 7 with rotator cuff tendinitis.
--RHP Octavio Dotel remains at the Tigers' complex in Lakeland, Fla., where he is throwing long toss and building up his arm strength. He has pitched only 4 2/3 innings this season before going on the disabled list on April 20 with elbow inflammation.
--RHP Justin Verlander will start Saturday against the Royals. In his previous start Sunday against the Rangers, Verlander limited the Rangers to one hit in seven scoreless innings. Verlander has a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season, but no-decisions. He has allowed one earned run in 14 innings. He hates to face Royals DH Billy Butler, who has a career .421 batting average off him.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "His control was a little rusty. A 1-0 ballgame, obviously he pitched well. I didn't think his control was real sharp. Holding them to one, that showed you what a good pitcher he is. They hit some balls hard at some people." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on starter Anibal Sanchez, after Friday's 1-0 loss to the Royals.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - ROSTER REPORT
--2B Omar Infante (sprained left ankle, left shin contusion) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He was eligible to come off the disabled list July 19 but was running only about half-speed so his return to the Tigers won't be until the following week at the earliest. "I pretty much knew he wasn't going to be ready," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's not ready, and I have no idea when (he will be)." Infante was scheduled to join Detroit in Kansas City on July 20 for evaluation by head trainer Kevin Rand. He will go on a brief rehab assignment as soon as he can run full speed.
--LHP Darin Downs (left shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list July 7. He has been throwing light bullpens at Detroit's Spring Training base in Lakeland, Fla., but no timetable has been set for his return.
--RHP Octavio Dotel (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 8. Dotel has been unable to progress beyond light throwing or minimal mound work while working out at the club's spring training base in Lakeland, Fla. Time is running out on a possible return to the Tigers by next month. Dotel has been doing some long tossing and may try to start throwing bullpens again next week after building up some arm strength.
RHP Justin Verlander
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Doug Fister
RHP Rick Porcello
RHP Anibal Sanchez
RHP Joaquin Benoit (closer)
LHP Drew Smyly
LHP Phil Coke
RHP Luke Putkonen
RHP Bruce Rondon
RHP Al Alburquerque
RHP Evan Reed
1B Prince Fielder
2B Hernan Perez
SS Jhonny Peralta
3B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
INF Ramon Santiago
LF Andy Dirks
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
OF Don Kelly
OF Matt Tuiasosopo