video thumbnail

KC@DET: Verlander snags the chopper and turns two

The 4-0 Tigers will try to wrap up their season-opening homestand on Sunday the same way it began -- by winning a game started by Justin Verlander.

Verlander (0-0, 3.00 ERA) received a no-decision on Opening Day. He'll oppose Baltimore's Chris Tillman (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who also started on Opening Day.

Detroit will be going for its first 5-0 start to a season since 2006, when the Tigers won the American League pennant.

Though Tillman pitched well on Opening Day, allowing one run, he lasted only five innings -- not long enough to pick up a quality start. In fact, no Baltimore pitcher has earned a quality start in the season's first week.

By comparison, the 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball turned in by Rick Porcello on Saturday was the Tigers' third quality start of their four-game-old season.

"Like I've said for the past three years," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said on Saturday, "we've got to get deeper into games with our starters. And if we don't, we'll be shuffling [pitchers in from Triple-A] Norfolk."

The Orioles' staff has allowed at least one baserunner in 39 of the 43 innings they have pitched. Baltimore's rotation has a combined ERA of 7.56.

With a win on Sunday, the Tigers would sweep the Orioles (1-4) for the first time since July 5-7, 2010.

Orioles: Showalter gives struggling Flaherty a rest
With his club facing Porcello, Showalter sat struggling third baseman Ryan Flaherty in favor of rookie Jonathan Schoop on Saturday.

"Just trying to get Jonathan out there with this string of right-handers [pitching]," Showalter said. "I don't want him to be sitting around too long -- and it might be good for Ryan, too. Ryan has played well for us defensively, and he'll get it going offensively."

Flaherty is 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts this season, and Saturday was the first game he did not start.

In his place, Schoop, batted ninth, going 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.

Tigers: Ausmus may meet with Torre about replay review
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus exchanged text messages with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre about his first unsuccessful replay challenge. The two may meet in Los Angeles when the Tigers are in town next week.

During Friday's win over the Orioles, Tigers shortstop Andrew Romine bobbled a toss on the exchange from his glove to his hand while attempting to turn a double play. The umpire ruled the runner safe at second base. Ausmus challenged that the runner at second was out.

After consulting with an official at Major League Baseball's replay operations center, the umpires confirmed the ruling on the field. Torre told Ausmus it was the right decision.

Ausmus argued that the fielder can control the ball long enough in his glove and said plays of that nature need to be looked at more closely. But he knows replay is a "work-in-progress."

Worth noting
• With his three-run double in the third inning on Saturday, Torii Hunter is now batting .316 with 177 RBIs for his career with the bases loaded. He has reached in seven of his last nine plate appearances, after beginning the season 0-for-9.

• The only current Orioles with lifetime batting averages above .250 against Verlander are Flaherty (2-for-6) and J.J. Hardy, who has a .258 mark (8-for-31). Chris Davis is hitting just .176 (3-for-17) against Verlander for his career, while Nelson Cruz has posted a .154 mark (4-for-26) and Adam Jones a .111 average (3-for-27).

• Saturday was the seventh career three-hit game for Detroit's Don Kelly. Comments