Tag Archives: Nick Castellanos

MLB Power Rankings: Dodgers back on top to open August

Embed from Getty Images

 

The Philadelphia Phillies are as high as they have been all season in the latest 2019 MLB Power Rankings. As the month of August opens, that still only leaves them at 14th overall in Major League Baseball.

However, while they rank as middle-of-the-pack in all of baseball, they are the sixth-highest ranked ball club in the National League. That means they statistically come out right about where they are in the standings, as a legitimate NL Wildcard contender.
In taking a look at the landscape of contenders over the final eight weeks of the regular season, the Phillies are likely going to have to beat out the division-rival Washington Nationals and whichever team finishes as runners-up in the NL Central Division, the Chicago Cubs or Saint Louis Cardinals.
The Nationals made a series of moves to shore up their one glaring weakness – the bullpen – at yesterday’s MLB trade deadline. The Cubs added a big bat in Nicholas Castellanos.
In looking ahead at the schedule, the Phillies have just four games left head-to-head with the Nationals. Those will take place in Washington at the end of September in the club’s final road series of the year. Having met 14 times already, the Nationals have taken nine games from the Phillies, who would need a sweep of that final series to gain a 9-9 split.
The Cubs will come to Citizens Bank Park for three games in the middle of August. The Phillies and Cubs have already split four games at 2-2 this season. The Phillies are done with the Cardinals, having won four of six games between the two teams.
My own personal feelings never have anything to do with the MLB Power Rankings published here at Phillies Nation. Instead, the rank is all about actual team performance: results in the standings and statistical breakdowns.
I take what I have found to be key statistical categories and rank each of the 30 teams in Major League baseball on their ability to win ball games and perform on offense, the pitching mound, and in the field. There is never any subjectivity on my part.

The MLB Power Rankings are updated here at Phillies Nation on roughly the 1st and 15th of the month for the remainder of the regular season using the following methodology.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

Introduced and then upgraded during the course of last season, my formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched to see if it can be improved upon.
That formula carried two categories over from the 2018 season: winning percentage and OPS against. The first is simple, reflecting each team’s ability to actually win ball games. The second reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage.
As of my first ranking for the 2019 season, runs-per-game replaced last year’s “runs scored” in order to get the offensive component. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.
Also this summer, the defensive component was changed. The defensive metric beginning with the July 15 rankings was switched to “Defensive runs saved” as measured at Fangraphs, replacing the previous “fielding percentage” to gauge a team’s defensive effectiveness.
I then assign each of those four component category team rankings a 1-30 numerical value, and simply add those values up to determine an overall final ratings score. Where there is a tie, it is broken by win-loss percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about.

2019 AUGUST 1 –  MLB RANKINGS

Returning to the top of the rankings for the first time since June 1 are the Los Angeles Dodgers. The National League’s top ball club in each of the previous 2019 Power Rankings, the Dodgers are one of just two teams ranked among the top three each time around this season.
Coming in as the August 1 runners-up and the top team in the American League are the previous rankings leaders, the Minnesota Twins. They are the other team to finish among the top three in each of the prior MLB Power Rankings this season.
The Cleveland Indians were the hot risers in the last rankings, and they remain scorching as August opens. But hotter than the summer sun during the month of July were the San Francisco Giants. At 11 games under .500 when the month began and ranked next-to-last back on June 1, the Giants have vaulted into the top 20 and NL Wildcard contention.
An enigmatic team would be the Arizona Diamondbacks. For the fifth consecutive period, the formula pushes the Dbacks out as a top 10 ball club. Yet Arizona has fallen below .500 in the standings at this point, sitting four games back in the loss column in the NL Wildcard race.
In parentheses are each team’s position in the June 1, June 15 , July 1 and July 15 rankings, shown in that order from left to right.
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3-2-2)
  2. Minnesota Twins (2-2-3-1)
  3. Houston Astros (3-1-1-5)
  4. Oakland Athletics (8-12-5-3)
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (4-4-4-4)
  6. Cleveland Indians (18-18-15-10)
  7. Arizona Diamondbacks (9-5-6-9)
  8. Boston Red Sox (6-6-10-8)
  9. Chicago Cubs (10-13-11-7)
  10. New York Yankees (5-8-9-6)
  11. Los Angeles Angels (19-17-19-11)
  12. Atlanta Braves (12-9-7-12)
  13. Washington Nationals (24-19-13-13)
  14. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14-18-16)
  15. Saint Louis Cardinals (14-15-14-14)
  16. Milwaukee Brewers (7-10-16-19)
  17. Cincinnati Reds (13-16-17-18)
  18. San Francisco Giants (29-27-25-21)
  19. Texas Rangers (16-11-8-15)
  20. San Diego Padres (17-20-20-17)
  21. Colorado Rockies (11-7-12-20)
  22. Kansas City Royals (21-21-22-22)
  23. Miami Marlins (23-26-21-23)
  24. New York Mets (22-23-24-25)
  25. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-25-23-24)
  26. Seattle Mariners (26-22-27-26)
  27. Toronto Blue Jays (28-28-26-28)
  28. Chicago White Sox (25-24-28-27)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (30-30-30-30)
  30. Detroit Tigers (27-29-29-29)

SPOTLIGHT TEAM: TAMPA BAY RAYS

Previous spotlight teams: Minnesota (6/1), Atlanta (6/15), Texas (7/1), Oakland (7/15)
It’s fair to ask, how are these guys doing it? The Rays are 14 games over the .500 mark while playing in a division with the behemoth Yankees and defending world champion Red Sox. They are tied with Oakland for the second AL Wildcard, two games up on those Bosox and four clear of both the Angels and Rangers.
Kevin Cash is now in his fifth season at the helm in Tampa. After three losing campaigns, he guided the Rays to a 90-win season a year ago. That was the sixth-best record in the AL, but still seven games back of Oakland for a Wildcard playoff spot.
The Rays get by with no one superstar. But they have nine batters who are in double-digits for home runs. 24-year-old, second year outfielder Austin Meadows is a potential star. Splitting his time between DH and the corner outfield spots, he has 16 homers, 40 extra-base hits, and 51 RBIs.
On the mound, Tampa has somehow survived to this point despite losing their two most talented starting pitchers. 25-year-old Tyler Glasnow has been on the IL since May with a strained right forearm. A recent MRI came back clean, but he is not likely to see a big-league mound again until September, if then.
26-year-old southpaw Blake Snell was the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner. But after he struggled over 20 starts this season it was found that he had ‘loose bodies’ in his pitching elbow, requiring surgery. The surgery was successful, and the Rays hope to get him back for the final few weeks of the season.
It is questionable how long Tampa can stay in the race without those two big horses on the mound every four-to-five days. But if they can, and those two can return healthy in September, you would be foolish to count the Rays out.
It is also questionable how long Tampa can maintain a team in Major League Baseball, at least a competitive one over the long haul considering their current stadium situation. The idea had been floated to play half their games in Tampa, and half in Montreal. As the video above will reveal, that idea appears to be nothing more than a pipe dream for some old Expos fans.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as MLB Power Ranking: August 1

Phillies need a sweep as they set to meet Tigers in series finale

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’ocwk_cVbQgByMWagvEbuDw’,sig:’Q2BNw0GFW5g52b_T-jjfXKylNpotNLqg-VJ-7Pbna0U=’,w:’594px’,h:’400px’,items:’1029928898′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Vince Velasquez takes the mound on Wednesday afternoon

The Philadelphia Phillies (53-48) will try to accomplish their goal when this quick two-game series began, putting the finishing touches on a sweep of the Detroit Tigers (30-66) with a win on Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Last night, the two teams battled through 16 long, arduous, frustrating innings before it finally ended with a 3-2 Phillies victory in the early morning hours of Wednesday.
The Phillies will also be attempting to move to six games over the .500 mark for the first time since a seven-game losing skid nearly knocked the rails off their season back in late June.
Following this game, the Phillies will have their second off-day of the week. It will be a travel day, with the club returning to Citizens Bank Park.
This weekend, the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves will roll into South Philly at the start of what will be a pivotal nine game home stand for the Phillies, one that will carry the club up to and through the July 31 trade deadline.


TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  2. Scott Kingery SS
  3. Rhys Hoskins DH
  4. J.T. Realmuto 1B
  5. Adam Haseley RF
  6. Maikel Franco 3B
  7. Nick Williams LF
  8. Andrew Knapp C
  9. Roman Quinn CF

TIGERS

  1. JaCoby Jones CF
  2. Harold Castro LF
  3. Nicholas Castellanos RF
  4. Brandon Dixon 1B
  5. Jeimer Candelario 3B
  6. Christin Stewart DH
  7. Niko Goodrum SS
  8. Bobby Wilson C
  9. Gordon Beckham 2B
A day off for Bryce Harper, and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler gets Realmuto out from behind the plate, playing him at 1B for just the second time this season. Hoskins will appear at a position other than 1B for the first time this season, serving as the DH. He appeared four times as a DH a year ago, his only career Designated Hitter appearances. Kingery will appear in his 10th game at shortstop this season. He has played in 39 games in center field, 13 at third base, nine in left field, and just five at his natural position of second base.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

Phillies – Vince Velasquez (27/RH): 2-5, 4.87 ERA, 1.393 WHIP, 61 hits over 61 IP across 21 games (11 starts) with a 70/24 K:BB
Tigers – Jordan Zimmermann (33/RH): 0-7, 7.51 ERA, 1.686 WHIP, 76 hits over 56.1 IP across 12 starts with a 40/19 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Realmuto leads all big-league catchers in hits, runs and doubles. Is 3rd in AVG, 5th in RBIs/OBP/OPS.
  • Hoskins is 2nd in OBP, 6th in OPS, 8th in HR, 9th in RBIs among all MLB first basemen.
  • Harper is 2nd in doubles, 4th in RBIs, 5th in OBP among all big-league right fielders. He is 4th in doubles among all MLB players.
  • Zimmermann has not faced the Phillies since September 25, 2015, when he was still a member of the Washington Nationals rotation. He has pitched in 44 games, 43 as a starter, in his career at Comerica Park, compiling a 14-22 record with a 6.26 ERA over 233 IP with 161 strikeouts. In six home starts this season, Zimmermann is 0-5 with an 8.16 ERA over 28.2 IP with 21 strikeouts.
  • Cabrera now has 2,765 career hits, four shy of Johnny Damon for 54th place all-time in MLB. He has 470 home runs, three shy of tying Carlos Delgado for 33rd all-time. His 1,672 RBIs are four short of Gary Sheffield for 26th all-time.
  • Castellanos drilled a pair of doubles in Tuesday night’s ball game, giving him 36 doubles, most in Major League Baseball this season.
  •  Beckham played in the 1,000th game of his MLB career in late April, becoming the 78th active player in the big-leagues to appear in 1,000 career games. This season marks his 11th in MLB, and he has played in 1,041 career games. He is nine hits shy of 800 for his big-league career.

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Bullpen stars as Phillies down Tigers 3-2 in 15 innings at Comerica Park

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’k5TeUvu5Scx3TOnIN7In6Q’,sig:’pmzcAKBh_O4aHwJNKzzddF8zCpLMahTQcr9J4CzuVCQ=’,w:’594px’,h:’395px’,items:’1039700066′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Rhys Hoskins delivered the game-winning hit in 15th inning

The Philadelphia Phillies (53-48) edged out the host Detroit Tigers (30-66) by a 3-2 score in 15 often frustrating innings on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

The victory, which came in a game that began nearly 40 minutes late due to rain and ended six innings late due to the failure of both offenses to produce with runners in scoring position, was the Phillies fourth in five games. It also moves them to five games over the .500 mark for the first time since July 2.

The Phillies had a couple of chances to put some distance between themselves and Detroit in regulation play, the first coming in the very first inning when Rhys Hoskins singled and Bryce Harper doubled with one out. Both would end up stranded.
In the home 1st inning, rookie Tigers second baseman Harold Castro reached on an error by Scott Kingery, who continues to be played out of position by the Phillies on a nightly basis, this time at shortstop. Nola than hit Miguel Cabrera with a pitch. Castro moved to third on a ground out, and then raced home to score the game’s first run when Nola bounced a wild pitch in the dirt that J.T. Realmuto couldn’t block.
In the top of the 2nd, the Phillies went on top via an unlikely source. Roman Quinn powered up, blasting his first home run of the season out deep to left field, a two-run shot to put the Phillies up by a 2-1 score.
Phillies take a 2-1 lead on this rocket off the bat of Roman Quinn, his first homer of the season.

Embedded video

See Phillies Nation’s other Tweets

That score remained into the 6th inning when, in a nod back to that 1st inning, the Phillies blew a huge opportunity only to see the Tigers score. In their half, the Phillies put the first two runners on, and had the bases loaded with one out. But Adam Haseley and Quinn each popped out to end the threat.
In their half of the inning, the Tigers tied it up. Castro led off with a double and came around with the tying run when Nicholas Castellanos doubled one out later.
That was all the scoring in regulation play. Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola would go 7 strong innings, and Tigers starter Matthew Boyd pitched around all the trouble over 6 innings as numerous scouts watched the trade deadline target from the stands.
Both bullpens then did a fantastic job. None was more effective than former Phillies starting rotation member Nick Pivetta. He came on with one out in the bottom of the 8th inning and tossed 3.2 hitless shutout innings, walking one and striking out five batters.
Both teams blew opportunities to win it, and it took a great defensive play to keep the Tigers from walking it off in the bottom of the 14th. Castellanos led off with a double. After a strikeout and intentional walk, pinch-hitter Brandon Dixon rolled a base hit to left field.
Castellanos came racing home with appeared to be the winning run. But Brad Miller, who had entered the game as a defensive sub in left field in the 12th inning for Nick Williams (who himself had been pinch-hit for by Jean Segura), fielded the ball and came up firing. Realmuto snared the ball on the first base side of home plate, and dove back to apply the tag to the sliding Castellanos for the second out. Alvarez then struck out John Hicks, and the Phillies went to the 15th inning for the first time this year.
The Phillies finally pushed the key run across in the top of the 15th inning. Scott Kingery started it off by slashing a triple into the right field corner. When Rhys Hoskins followed by slinging an inside-out base hit to right field, the Phillies finally had the lead at 3-2.
In the bottom of the 15th, Jose Alvarez tossed a second shutout frame to earn the victory. The Phillies bullpen ended up tossing eight innings, allowing three hits and walking three batters. Now the two teams will get a short night sleep, with the series finale set for a first pitch just under 13 hours from the time this one ended.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

Phillies – Aaron Nola: 7 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 7 strikeouts. 105 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Tigers – Matthew Boyd: 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 earned, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 101 pitches, 68 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: RHYS HOSKINS

The biggest hit of the game may have actually been Scott Kingery‘s triple to lead of the top of the 15th inning. That put someone in scoring position for Hoskins to drive in for what proved to be the game-winning run. But Kingery was 0-6 with four strikeouts prior to that.
Another player who has to be mentioned is Pivetta, who went 3.2 scoreless innings. He allowed no hits, walked one, struck out 5 batters. Then there was Brad Miller with his great throw. And J.T. Realmuto with a fantastic tag on that play. Jose Alvarez got the ‘W’ with two shutout frames.
But it was Hoskins who came through in the clutch when so many had failed in that situation for a long time in this game. His RBI single ended up the winner, and the Phillies first baseman had two hits and two walks while batting out of the two-hole in the lineup.

TICKET IQ NEXT GAME


Tigers host Phillies in Tuesday night opener as trade rumors swirl

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’hUccwIbPQx5hHYJxLae15g’,sig:’Dv_VNUcwMFGM7YqoG9vHvRSE0KJO0bzIqeUR7gJHN44=’,w:’594px’,h:’403px’,items:’72168303′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});

Phillies and Tigers face off in Tuesday night opener at Comerica Park

The Philadelphia Phillies (52-48) and Detroit Tigers (30-65) open a quick two-game Interleague series at Comerica Park with a Tuesday night match-up in Motown. The two clubs met previously at the end of April, splitting a two game set at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies have won three of their last four games as they fight to stay in the National League Wildcard race. The club is currently tied with the Milwaukee Brewers, a half-game behind the Saint Louis Cardinals in the battle for the second of two NL Wildcard playoff berths.
Losers in 16 of their last 20 games, the Tigers are suffering through a season in which they are challenging only for the top pick in next year’s MLB Draft. It is a season and a period in Tigers history that is absolutely reminiscent of a place where the Phillies found themselves about four years ago.
As a sidebar to the actual baseball taking place on the field, the MLB trade deadline is looming, just eight days away. Tonight’s starting pitcher for the Tigers is one of the most talked about arms as that deadline approaches. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak will be in the ballpark, believed to be scouting a number of Detroit players for possible deals.

TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Scott Kingery SS
  2. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. J.T. Realmuto C
  5. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  6. Maikel Franco 3B
  7. Adam Haseley RF
  8. Roman Quinn CF
  9. Nick Williams LF

TIGERS

  1. JaCoby Jones CF
  2. Harold Castro 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera DH
  4. Nicholas Castellanos RF
  5. Jeimer Candelario 3B
  6. Niko Goodrum 1B
  7. Christin Stewart LF
  8. John Hicks C
  9. Jordy Mercer SS

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

PHILLIES – Aaron Nola: 8-2, 3.77 ERA, 110 hits over 121.2 IP across 21 starts with a 138/51 K:BB
TIGERS – Matthew Boyd: 6-8, 4.13 ERA, 112 hits over 120 IP across 20 starts with a 160/24 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Back on February 28 in the immediate aftermath of the Bryce Harper signing, the Phillies moved into the top five MLB teams in World Series betting odds. Per the site SportsBettingDime.com, the Phillies dropped out of the top ten by early July and have now been passed by the Nationals as the third betting choice from the NL East.
  • The Tigers actually have a worse record at home (13-34) than on the road (17-31) this season. They are just 23-54 against right-handed starters, and 5-13 in Interleague contests this year.
  • These two franchise’ have met just 20 times in their long histories, with Detroit taking 12 of those. The Tigers are 5-4 against the Phillies during their meetings at Comerica Park.
  • Castellanos recorded the first walk-off hit and homer of his Tigers career on Sunday. His day also included his MLB-leading 34th double of the season. With two extra-base hits on Sunday, he now ranks tied for sixth in the American League with 48 XBH. Dating to June 2, Castellanos has hit safely in 35-of-40 games, batting .314/.389/.513 with 16 doubles, five home runs and 14 RBI.
  • Jones had two hits for the Tigers on Sunday, including a solo home run, his 10th of the season. Since May 24, Jones is hitting .320/.374/.586 with 12 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 17 RBI in 36 games

TICKET IQ PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Tigers need to be used as a doormat by the Phillies in quick two-game series

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’6xhlfaEGT0Vs1V3II40Fuw’,sig:’7vCe9dlI1AN37xlqu8RC4b__jNUmHQRW9_UVmzmPgMY=’,w:’594px’,h:’444px’,items:’801916316′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Phillies hope there won’t be too much partying this week in Motown

The Philadelphia Phillies (52-48) have won five of their seven Interleague contests thus far in the 2019 MLB regular season.

The club will try to add to that winning record over the next two nights at Comerica Park as they take on the host Detroit Tigers (30-65) in Motown for a quick two-game set.
Back on April 30 and May 1, the Phillies and Tigers split another two-gamer. That one was held at Citizens Bank Park in what may have been a perfect microcosm of this 2019 Phillies season to date.
Four Detroit hurlers held the Phillies to just four hits as the Tigers won that opener by a 3-1 score. The very next night, the Phillies offense exploded for 15 hits in a 7-3 victory. It has been that kind of roller coaster year for a team that is now involved with a half-dozen other clubs in a chase for an NL Wildcard playoff berth.
The Tigers are not chasing anything, other than the top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Their record is the second-worst in all of Major League Baseball, just a few percentage points better than the Baltimore Orioles 31-68 mark.
The Tigers offensive attack and pitching staff both rank as next-to-last in baseball in key categories. Their hitters have produced just 3.65 runs per game. The pitchers have a combined .273 batting average against.
Frankly, this is a series that the Phillies need to sweep. The Tigers are down and out, already playing out the string with more than two months left on the schedule. However, as our look below at the starting pitchers who they will be throwing at the Phillies in this series shows, it won’t necessarily be an easy task.


DETROIT TIGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Nicholas Castellanos (27/RF): .284/.342/.480, 11 HR, 48 extra-base hits, 36 RBIs, 56 runs
JaCoby Jones (27/CF): .252/.317/.458, 20 HR, 27 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs, 31 runs, 6 steals
Brandon Dixon (27/1B): .255/.289/.476, 12 HR, 23 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 26 runs
Harold Castro (25/2B): .302/.315/.424, 2 HR, 10 extra-base hits, 15 RBIs, 13 runs (42 games, 147 plate appearances)
Niko Goodrum (27/UT): .245/.318/.407, 9 HR, 31 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, 49 runs
Jeimer Candelario (25/3B): .218/.306/.371, 7 HR, 20 extra-base hits, 23 RBIs, 26 runs

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Miguel Cabrera: The great Miggy has become somewhat a shell of his former MVP self as he ages with a losing ball club. Cabrera is slashing .283/.346/.373 with 18 extra-base hits and 37 RBIs. Basically, Cabrera can still hit, but he seems to have lost his power almost completely.
Cabrera has enjoyed a storied 17-year big-league career since debuting as a 20-year-old third baseman with the Florida (now Miami) Marlins back in June 2003. The young Miggy helped lead the Fish to their second World Series crown that year as a rookie, finishing fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Cabrera would go on to five consecutive NL All-Star Game appearances with the Marlins, winning a pair of Silver Slugger Awards at the hot corner and finishing 5th in NL MVP voting twice.
Then in December 2007, Cabrera was traded away to the Detroit Tigers along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis in exchange for a six-prospect package that included outfielder Cameron Maybin and pitcher Andrew Miller.
With Detroit, Cabrera would elevate his game to another level. He was an AL All-Star for seven consecutive seasons, and won five more Silver Sluggers. Cabrera was the American League Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons, edging out Mike Trout in both 2012 and 2013. In that 2012 campaign, Cabrera became the first AL triple crown winner in 45 years when he led the league in home runs, RBIs and batting average.
Now age 36, Cabrera still has four years and $124 million guaranteed on a contract that runs through the 2023 season.  It’s a deal that likely makes him untradeable. That is especially so now that he has been diagnosed with chronic knee issues that will limit him almost exclusively to the Designated Hitter position.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

TUESDAY – Matthew Boyd (28/LH): 6-8, 4.13 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 1.133 WHIP, 112 hits over 120 IP across 20 starts with a 160/24 K:BB. Boyd has become the subject of intense rumors as the trade deadline approaches. With three seasons of team control remaining, the southpaw would not come cheap. The Tigers would be looking for multiple young pieces to help in their rebuild. The Phillies have been seriously linked, and this appearance makes for an interesting showcase.
WEDNESDAY – Jordan Zimmermann (33/RH): 0-7, 7.51 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 1.686 WHIP, 76 hits over 56.1 IP across 12 starts with a 40/19 K:BB ratio. Zimmermann, who missed the bulk of the 2009-10 seasons while with the Washington Nationals after undergoing Tommy John surgery, had elbow pain earlier this year. That condition drove him to the IL, causing him to miss the entire month of May and much of June. Since returning he has not been good. Over his last three starts, the veteran has allowed 28 hits over just 11 innings with a 9/4 K:BB. His season results say that he won’t last long, won’t register many strikeouts, and is likely to be hit hard. He has faced the Phillies 16 times in his career, most of those with the Nationals, with a career 4.17 ERA and 1.316 WHIP in those outings. The Phillies have to hope that he doesn’t somehow turn back the clock to his 2013-14 NL All-Star past in this one.

THE SKIPPER

Ron Gardenhire: The 61-year-old is a native of Germany, born to a U.S. military family stationed at Butzbach in what was then West Germany back in October 1957. He became a 6th round choice of the New York Mets in the 1978 MLB Draft out of the University of Texas, and played for the Mets over parts of five seasons from 1981-85, spending 1982 as their starting shortstop.
After his retirement, ‘Gardy’ was hired as a manager in the minor league system of the Minnesota Twins, serving there from 1988-90. He then served for 11 years as the Twins third base coach, after which Gardenhire was given his first shot as a big-league skipper by Minnesota in 2002.
Over 13 seasons he guided Minnesota to a 1,068-1,039 record and six division championships. It was nearly seven, as his 2008 club lost a one-game playoff to the Chicago White Sox after the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for first. His first 2002 team lost the ALCS to the Angels in five games.
In April of 2014, Gardenhire became the 60th skipper in big-league history to win 1,000 games, just the 10th to do it with one team. However, over his final four seasons the team deteriorated to big losing campaigns, finishing in last place three times and ending his tenure.
Gardenhire spent the 2017 season as bench coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and during the season also underwent prostate cancer surgery. After the season was over he was hired to guide the Tigers rebuilding program in October 2017.
Gardnehire’s son, Toby, was drafted by the Twins in 2005 and rose through their system to the Triple-A level. After his retirement as a player, Toby Gardenhire was given an opportunity at managing. He is now skipper of the Low-A Cedar Rapids Kernels in the Minnesota farm system.

THE BALLPARK

Comerica Park: Opened in April 2000 to replace historic Tiger Stadium, the team’s previous home from its own 1912 opening, Comerica Park has a seating capacity of just over 41,000 fans. Tigers are everywhere you look. Not just talking about the players here. There are no fewer than nine statues of the animal spread around the ballpark, including a giant 15-foot tall cat at the main entrance and a pair of Tigers on the left field scoreboard whose eyes light up when a Detroit player cranks a home run.
In the left-center concourse, more statues are found in the Tigers Hall of Fame, including of legendary great players such as Ty CobbAl Kaline and Hank Greenberg.
Field dimensions are 345 and 330 feet down the left and right field lines respectively. It is a deep 420 feet out to dead-center field, 370 to left-center, and 365 to right-center field.
Nick Castellanos, a pending free agent who is a hot trade target as the deadline approaches, recently called the ballpark a “joke“:
This park is a joke,” Castellanos said, per the Detroit News. “It’s to the point where how are we going to be compared to the rest of the people in the league in terms of power numbers, OPS, slugging and all that stuff when we got a yard out here that’s 420 feet straight across center field? I mean, they can move in center and right-center field. There’s no reason I hit a ball 434 feet off (Nationals right-hander) Anibal Sanchez and it goes in the first row.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

TUESDAY: There is a 30% chance of isolated thunderstorms at the 7:10 PM EDT first pitch, but this will not be a rainout, nor should there be any significant delays, if any at all. Winds will be almost non-existent, and temps will drop from the low-70’s into the upper-60’s during the game.
WEDNESDAY: Mostly sunny for the 1:10 PM EDT scheduled first pitch and throughout the game. Winds will remain light, and temps will range from the mid-upper 70’s.
Detroit, Michigan forecast from The Weather Channel