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MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH
Vintage Victor Martinez is clearly back.
Martinez entered Friday hitting .295 following a 4-for-20 skid, although earlier in the week his batting average briefly hit .300 for the first time this season.
He took another streak indicative of his hitting ability into the series opener in Kansas City. Martinez had not struck out in 79 consecutive at-bats. He had not fanned since the first game of a doubleheader Aug. 16 against the Royals.
His career high in strikeouts is 78, which happened in both 2005 and 2006. Martinez had struck out 56 times prior to Friday's game.
After missing all of last season due to knee surgery, Martinez spent more than two months getting back to the form that has enabled him to compile a .303 career batting average.
On June 28 he was hitting .225 but for July and August combined he hit nearly .400.
Manager Jim Leyland said after his team's Aug. 28 14-4 loss to Oakland, a game in which Martinez had three hits, illustrated the kind of player Detroit's designated hitter is.
"We're way behind. Obviously, we're not going to win the game," Leyland said. "And he's grinding out his at-bats like the winning run is on third base in the seventh game of the World Series. That's why we love Victor Martinez.
"That's why Victor Martinez is a great hitter. He could have cashed it in. He could have asked to come out and get a little break for his legs, even though he's the DH. But he was grinding those at-bats out right until the end."
It's why Victor Martinez was hitting .295 on Friday after spending more than two months floundering around .220.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
PAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
NEXT: Tigers (Anibal Sanchez, 12-7, 2.68) at Royals (James Shields, 10-8, 3.03)
--RHP Rick Porcello lasted five-plus innings and gave up three of Boston's eight home runs in the Red Sox 20-4 win over the Tigers Wednesday night. His manager, Jim Leyland, thought "Rick was all right" but the pitch location was another matter and he gave up three of the franchise-record eight homers allowed by Detroit pitchers in the game.
--3B Miguel Cabrera, named American League player of the month for August, was out of the Detroit lineup for the fourth time in the last five games Wednesday night because of a core injury. His 11 homers in August were the most by a Tiger in an August since Al Kaline hit 12 in 1967. "He's sore today. That's all I can tell you. I can't tell you when he's going to play," manager Jim Leyland said. Cabrera made a diving play Tuesday night, when he went 0-for-4, only the sixth time all season he's played a complete game without reaching base.
--1B Prince Fielder hit his 22nd homer of the season Wednesday night. It was his seventh home run in 23 games against the Red Sox, and he is hitting .333 with 19 RBIs against Boston.
--SS Jose Iglesias left Wednesday night game in the fifth inning with bilateral shin splints. "It's been bothering him a little bit before. It got a little worse tonight," said manager Jim Leyland. Iglesias went 1-for-2 with an RBI and went 3-for-9 in his first series against his old team, flashing some of his already well-known glove work.
--RHP Max Scherzer was named American League pitcher of the month for August. Tuesday night, manager Jim Leyland defended his pitcher against a televised graphic that read Scherzer would have been 11-10 if he had gotten the poor run support Boston's John Lackey has had to endure. "Some people could find a flaw in Bo Derek," said Leyland, talking about the beautiful actress known for the 1979 movie "10." "Is it Scherzer's fault that they've scored runs for him, but Lackey hasn't gotten any? I don't care about all that stat stuff. Scherzer has been great for us, and Lackey has been outstanding for them. If you really want to simplify it, it's just been Scherzer's year, but don't make it sound as if he hasn't pitched good."
--RHP Anibal Sanchez, 5-0 with three no-decisions since last losing back on July 19, opens the Tigers' three-game series in Kansas City Friday night. His last loss was to KC, the Tigers falling 1-0 July 19. Sanchez has also beaten the Royals during his current streak and is 2-2 with a marvelous 0.92 ERA lifetime against Kansas City.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We obviously didn't do a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. The Green Monster's one thing but (in) right field you don't normally see them go out like that. They were going out like ping pong ball." -- Manager Jim Leyland, of the record-setting eight home runs allowed by Tigers pitchers in Wednesday's 20-4 defeat.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - ROSTER REPORT
--3B Miguel Cabrera (abdominal/left hip flexor strain) came out Aug. 29 when his stomach muscle balked while he was trying to stretch a single into a double. He played Aug. 30 but left the game with the same injury. He was out of the lineup Aug. 31-Sept. 2. He took batting practice Sept. 2. He returned to the lineup Sept. 3 but sat out Sept. 4.
--SS Jose Iglesias (shin splints) left the Sept. 4 game. He is day-to-day.
--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. He began rehab assignment Aug. 7 with Detroit's rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate, and he moved to Class A Lakeland on Aug. 12. He was moved to Triple-A on Aug. 26. He may have endured a setback in his rehab assignment Aug. 30. He was removed after throwing 14 pitches with Triple-A Toledo. He said afterward he felt a cramp in his forearm. He had his injury rehab assignment halted Sept. 1, and he will remain on the DL. "It's not good," manager Jim Leyland said. "It appears like he'll be shut down. That's 99.9 percent."
--RHP Luis Marte (right shoulder surgery in June 2013) was recalled from Triple-A Toledo and immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list July 31. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 1.
RHP Justin Verlander
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Doug Fister
RHP Rick Porcello
RHP Anibal Sanchez
RHP Joaquin Benoit (closer)
RHP Jose Veras
LHP Drew Smyly
RHP Bruce Rondon
RHP Al Alburquerque
LHP Phil Coke
RHP Evan Reed
RHP Luke Putkonen
LHP Jose Alvarez
RHP Jeremy Bonderman
1B Prince Fielder
2B Omar Infante
SS Jose Iglesias
3B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
INF Ramon Santiago
INF Danny Worth
INF Hernan Perez
LF Andy Dirks
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
OF Don Kelly
OF Matt Tuiasosopo
OF Nick Castellanos