MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH
DETROIT -- For all of Justin Verlander's struggles the last couple of seasons, it's easy to overlook the fact he has now won 10 or more games for nine straight seasons.
Much is made of the right-hander's velocity being in the 94-96 mph range as a peak instead of the 100-101 it was 2-3 years ago.
And he struggles at times to put his fastball right where he wants it and where it needs to be for him to be as successful as he would like.
He reached 10 victories Friday night with eight innings of two-run ball in Detroit's 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
"I felt like we took a pretty good approach against him," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "But you could see him elevate his game when he got in a tough spot. He's always been able to do that."
Verlander lost the first two starts of his career, both in 2005, but since coming to the majors for good in 2006, he has won at least 10 games in each of his nine seasons.
Verlander's career record is now 147-86 and another decade of double-digit wins would put him near his goal of reaching the Hall of Fame.
The right-hander has lost as many as 10 games in just two seasons, although he's knocking on the door this year with nine.
"He looked like the Verlander of old to me," Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said. "He had that attitude on the mound, that presence that the mound is mine."
Which are traits that have made him a consistent winner for Detroit.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Rockies (LHP Tyler Matzek, 2-5, 4.39 ERA) at Tigers (RHP Rick Porcello, 12-5, 3.24 ERA)
--CF Rajai Davis inherited CF Austin Jackson's post in center field and the batting order Friday night. He feels he gets better reads on fly balls in center than in the corner spots. Manager Brad Ausmus said it won't be a strict platoon situation with Davis and newly brought up CF Ezequiel Carrera. "Raj hits some right-handed pitchers pretty well," Ausmus said. "I don't want to get pinned down on a platoon situation." Davis is likely to lead off when he plays. Davis made five putouts in the first four innings Friday night and was the key to Detroit's offense. He drove in two runs with a single and scored the Tigers' other two runs in a 4-2 victory over Colorado.
--CF Ezequiel Carrera reported to Detroit on Friday night with a chance to force his way into playing time the way OF J.D. Martinez did when he was brought up from Triple-A Toledo. "He's a very good defensive outfielder who can run," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He can go from first to third and he can bunt. He's kind of an action player. He makes things happen." Ausmus said there was no set plan to platoon the left-handed hitting former Cleveland Indian with right-handed hitting OF Rajai Davis. Carrera will probably hit second behind 2B Ian Kinsler when he is in the lineup. "I don't know exactly how he's going to be used," Ausmus said. Carrera entered the game for the ninth inning to take over center field from starter CF Rajai Davis, who shifted to left.
--RF Torii Hunter is likely to remain in the fifth spot in manager Brad Ausmus' batting order as OFs Rajai Davis and Ezequiel Carrera replace the traded CF Austin Jackson. Hunter has 62 RBIs and drove in 23 during July, hitting fifth and sometimes sixth most of the month. "He'll probably stay where he is," Ausmus said. "I always say, 'If it ain't broke, don't break it,' " Hunter said.
--RHP Justin Verlander limited the damage in the only inning in which he allowed runs Friday night to reach 10 victories for the ninth season in a row. "He looked like the Verlander of old to me," Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said. "He had that attitude on the mound, that presence that the mound is mine." Verlander was spotting his fastball where he wanted to and bumped it up to 95-96 mph when he needed to. He worked eight innings, allowing two runs on eight hits without a walk.
--DH Victor Martinez had a key RBI single for Detroit on Friday night. Martinez has been getting back into form after missing nearly two weeks of play before the All-Star game due to a sore side. He got two straight fastballs near the heart of the plate Friday night and smoked the second for an RBI single in the seventh, giving the Tigers a two-run lead.
--2B Ian Kinsler had two more hits Friday night, giving him 39 games with two or more. Kinsler had been batting second CF Austin Jackson but the trade of Jackson could mean a change for Kinsler. Manager Brad Ausmus said Kinsler might lead off when CF Ezequiel Carrera plays. He can expect to bat second when CF Rajai Davis plays and leads off.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "As the game went on, it got better (for me). In the seventh, they didn't hit hardly any ball hard, but that's when they scored a couple of runs. In some of those situations this year, I've given up some soft hits, then a hard-hit ball and things have unraveled from there. This time, I was able to limit the damage." -- RHP Justin Verlander.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - ROSTER REPORT
--LF Andy Dirks (lower back surgery in March 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list March 29, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 21. Dirks said he has had problems with his lower back since high school, but it locked up on him early in spring training. He was cleared to resume light baseball activity May 2. He was throwing and taking dry swings as of May 10. He was throwing and taking dry swings as of May 24, and he was running again as of June 3. As of June 12, Dirks was hitting off a tee, doing soft-toss batting drills and running bases. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Lakeland on July 8. Dirks' rehab assignment was halted July 16 because of muscular soreness. He was sent on a rehab assignment with Class A West Michigan on Aug. 1.
--RHP Joel Hanrahan (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 19. He was throwing off the mound and playing long toss as of May 24. After a slight hamstring setback, he was only playing long toss from about 120 feet in mid-June. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session July 5.
--RHP Luke Putkonen (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list on April 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class-A West Michigan on May 7, and he moved his rehab to Triple-A Toledo on May 9. His rehab assignment was halted in mid-May, and he underwent surgery to shave down the bone in his right elbow on June 13.
--RHP Bruce Rondon (Tommy John surgery in March 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list March 29. He is out for the season.
--SS Jose Iglesias (stress fractures in both shins) went on the 60-day disabled list March 29. He was declared out for the season by GM Dave Dombrowski on June 4.
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Justin Verlander
LHP David Price
RHP Rick Porcello
RHP Anibal Sanchez
RHP Joe Nathan (closer)
RHP Joba Chamberlain
RHP Joakim Soria
RHP Al Alburquerque
LHP Phil Coke
LHP Blaine Hardy
LHP Pat McCoy
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Eugenio Suarez
3B Nick Castellanos
DH Victor Martinez
INF Don Kelly
INF Andrew Romine
LF J.D. Martinez
CF Ezequiel Carrera
RF Torii Hunter
OF Rajai Davis