MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that the Tigers have pushed back Rick Porcello’s start to Saturday against the Rangers. Porcello was set to face the Rangers in the series opener on Thursday, but he is experiencing soreness in his right side and will get some extra rest.
Porcello has been pitching very well for the Tigers, picking up his league-leading seventh win on Saturday against the Red Sox. The 25-year-old right-hander has a 2.91 ERA and a 33/7 K/BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings.
Robbie Ray will make Thursday’s start. Ray was one candidate to be sent down to clear a spot on the roster for Anibal Sanchez, who is coming off of the disabled list, but the Tigers optioned reliever Justin Miller to Triple-A Toledo instead. Ray, acquired from the Nationals in the Doug Fister trade over the winter, posted good results in his first two starts, allowing just one run in 11 1/3 innings.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.