MLB News and Notes June 7

MLB News and Notes June 7

Four-Game sets on tap
By Scott Rickenbach

Forecasts for this Weekend's Four-game Series

New York Mets at San Diego Padres


The Mets come into this weekend series on a 7-2 run but let’s not forget that they were just 11-17 on the road this season before winning the last two games of their series at San Francisco. Also, the Padres have won six of their last 10 games and their overall poor record overshadows the fact that they have been decent at home. We could find some value with them at a few spots in this series.

The over might be a place to look as the Padres have a reputation as a low-scoring team. However, they’ve been scoring more than usual over the past 10 games, while the Mets also have used their lumber to improve their recent results during a 7-2 run.

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Cubs have put up some impressive numbers so far this season and, of course, that’s why their record ranks them as one of the top teams in baseball. However, heading into this series, they are hitting 51 points lower on the road in comparison with at home. Also, their road record is a respectable, but certainly not impressive, 12-14 so far this season.

Even still, those of you wanting to back the Dodgers be forewarned: this team cannot score runs! Amazingly, they have been either shut out or held to just one run in 10 of their last 13 games. Looks like the under should get some attention in this series.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates

With the Diamondbacks still mired in a horrific long-term slump, the Pirates could offer us some good value spots in this series. Keep in mind that Pittsburgh is a respectable 16-12 at home and the D-backs have a very soft 11-16 road record. The Diamondbacks just got swept in a three-game series at Milwaukee and the Brewers won the last two games by a combined score of 17-2. Ouch! Certainly it would be hard to fade Brandon Webb on Friday but the remainder of this series should certainly offer some opportunities to play on Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Reds at Florida Marlins

The Reds are struggling again. After some strong offensive performances recently, Cincinnati ended up struggling badly at Philly in a four-game set. They won only one game, thanks to a strong effort from Edinson Volquez. Cincinnati only scored eight runs in the entire four-game series and this was at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park in Philly.

That doesn’t bode well for the Reds in Florida. Heading into Thursday’s action, the Marlins had scored 59 runs in their last 11 games. This is a tough matchup to call though as some pretty good pitching matchups are on deck in this series. When those come up, a look at the under may be worth it because the Reds' bats are likely to continue their swoon.

San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals

The Nationals just can’t score runs right now and it’s killing them. Heading into Thursday’s double-header, the Nats had been held to two runs or less in 12 of their last 18 games. That is simply amazing offensive futility. Of course injuries haven’t helped but it is what it is. In Game 1 of the double-header Thursday, it took them until the eighth inning before they finally got on the board. This offense is a mess and should be no match for a resurgent Giants lineup. This is a prime example of where full-season numbers can be deceiving because the Giants have indeed averaged 5.5 runs in their last 12 games heading into this series but their full-season numbers indicate a much weaker offense. Make no mistake, the Giants have enough sticks to win a few of these games in Washington against the punchless Nationals and we should get some line value since they are on the road.

Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees

The Royals have lost 14 of 16 entering Thursday’s action. As a result you better believe the prices will be high with a Yankees club that, even in a down year, is not easy pickings at home. We may look for value with overs with a couple of the right pitching match-ups. As long as we have a good match-up for the Royals to give us some runs we do expect the Yankees hitters to crush the Royals pitching this weekend.

Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

Minnesota has been enjoying some surprising success of late and they’ve been hitting the ball better. Also, the White Sox offense appeared to be cooling off but they got the benefit of facing Royals pitching. With both lineups coming in fairly hot and confident for this series, we will definitely be seeking some value spots on over plays. The Twins had averaged nearly six runs per game in their last 16 games heading into Thursday’s action.

Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Speaking of hot offenses, heading into Thursday’s series finale with the Rangers, the Indians have certainly enjoyed their time down in Texas. The Tribe was 2-1 through the first three games and had scored - get this - 35 runs in the series. No matter what happens on Thursday night, the Indians have proven they can score in the right setting.

Detroit has allowed 32 runs in their last six games even though they faced the weak AL West offenses of the Mariners and the Athletics. Now they must face a surging Indians offense and we’ll be looking for overs in this series. The Tigers bats been quieted some on the road but don’t forget they scored 54 runs in their last six home games. They should resume the slugging here but the Indians should certainly answer them run for run.

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Tigers put IF Santiago, OF Thomas on DL
June 6, 2008

DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Tigers put infielder Ramon Santiago on the 15-day disabled list, reinstated right-hander Denny Bautista from the DL and added minor league infielder Michael Hollimon.

The Tigers also announced Friday outfielder Clete Thomas was going to the DL, retroactive to June 4, and right-hander Aquilino Lopez was on bereavement list. Detroit also added outfielder Brent Clevlen.

Santiago is sidelined with a separated left shoulder and Thomas is out with a sprained right ankle.

Bautista was 0-1 over 6 1-3 innings and struck out seven. He was put on the disabled list May 3 with right shoulder tendinitis.

Hollimon, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Toledo, hit .250 with 12 homers in 44 games for the Mud Hens. Clevlen, whose contract was recalled from Toledo, had a .324 batting average with 13 homers and an International League-leading 55 RBIs.

The Tigers opened a homestand against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night with the third-fewest victories in the AL.

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Iguchi sidelined with separated shoulder
June 6, 2008

SAN DIEGO (AP) -Padres second baseman Tadahito Iguchi will miss four to six weeks with a separated shoulder after he tumbled while running the bases against the New York Mets on Thursday night.

``We've been hit hard, especially on the pitching side,'' Padres manager Bud Black said Friday. ``It's not good. He's a steady, dependable, intelligent player. He really knows how to play. He was very much a stabilizing force on the infield.''

Iguchi suffered the injury on a bizarre play in the seventh inning of a 2-1 victory over the Mets.

Iguchi hit a one-out single and moved to second on a walk to Brian Giles. With two outs, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a hard grounder between third base and shortstop. Iguchi fell awkwardly to the ground and landed on his right shoulder while trying to avoid the ball as he ran to third.

Hit by the grounder, Iguchi was ruled out and Kouzmanoff got credit for a single. Iguchi was replaced by Edgar Gonzalez in between innings.

Iguchi is the fifth San Diego regular, including three starting pitchers, to be placed on the 15-day disabled list since May 20.

``We can't bury our heads in the sand about this,'' Black said. ``We'll see how it plays out. You got to play the game, you've got to play the schedule.''

Reigning Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy (strained right elbow) was put on the DL on May 20, retroactive to May 15. Starting pitcher Chris Young (broken nose) and catcher Josh Bard (sprained left ankle) were injured in the same inning on May 21 against St. Louis and placed on the DL the next day. Left-hander Shawn Estes (fractured left thumb) went on the list May 31, retroactive to May 29.

Peavy is scheduled to throw a three-inning simulated game on Saturday. If all goes well, the Padres likely will activate him next week.

Iguchi is hitting .259 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 59 games. He is one of two second basemen in the majors - Tampa Bay's Akinori Iwamura is the other - who has not committed an error this season. Iguchi's last error came on June 12, 2007, with the Chicago White Sox, a span of 124 games and 607 chances.

Gonzalez, the older brother of Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, was penciled in at second base for Friday night's game against the Mets. Gonzalez also was hitting second - Iguchi's spot - in the batting order.

Black said the Padres will use both Gonzalez at second as well as Craig Stansberry, who was recalled from Triple-A Portland on Friday.

The Padres also reinstated right-hander Clay Hensley from the 15-day DL and optioned him to Portland. Hensley was originally placed on the DL on March 26 with a right shoulder strain. He had appeared in four rehab starts in the minors.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

Philadelphia (37-26) at Atlanta (32-30)


A matchup of young pitchers is set for Turner Field tonight, as Kyle Kendrick (5-2, 5,00 ERA) of the Phillies battles Atlanta’s Jo Jo Reyes (2-3, 4.78) in the middle game of a series between N.L. East rivals.

Philadelphia got a run in the top of the ninth and two in the 10th to rally past Atlanta 4-3 in Friday’s opener. The Phillies are 10-2 in their last 12, and they’ve given up just seven runs in their last four contests. Also, Charlie Manuel’s club is on streaks of 5-1 against the N.L. East, 5-2 on the road and 6-0 against a left-handed starter.

Atlanta has alternated wins and losses in its last four games, but is just 6-9 going back to May 23, including 5-4 at home. Still, the Braves are 25-9 at Turner Field this season, the third best home mark in the majors, and they’ve lost two straight home contests just once this year. Also, they’re 7-2 in their last nine against the N.L. East and 21-5 in their last 26 home games against right-handed starters.

The Phillies have won five of the last six series meetings, including taking two of three at home in mid-May in the first series between the clubs this season. The host is 7-4 in the last 11 clashes.

Philadelphia is 8-1 in Kendrick’s last nine trips to the mound, including three straight wins over the Astros (7-5), Rockies (7-4) and Reds (5-4). Despite earning the victory in all three contests, Kendrick wasn’t exactly dominant, posting a 5.60 ERA. For the season, the Phillies are 9-3 when Kendrick starts, including 4-1 on the road, despite the right-hander’s 6.23 ERA as a visitor.

Kendrick outdueled Reyes and Braves at home on May 13, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks in six innings en route to the 5-4 victory. He’s 2-0 with a 4.24 ERA in three lifetime starts the last two seasons against Atlanta.

Reyes is coming off back-to-back quality starts against the Brewers and Marlins, giving up a combined four runs on seven hits and four walks with 13 strikeouts in 13 innings. However, he doesn’t have anything to show for it, losing 1-0 at Milwaukee and getting a no-decision in his team’s 7-5 win over the Marlins on Monday.

The Braves are 4-1 in Reyes’ five starts at Turner Field, with the southpaw posting a 5.25 ERA. Also, in his start at Philadelphia a month ago, Reyes got tagged for all five runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. It was his first-ever battle against the Phillies.

The over is 8-4 when Kendrick pitches this season, including 5-1 on the road. Conversely, the under is 4-2 in Reyes’ six starts (2-2 at home).

The under is on streaks of 37-17-3 for the Braves overall, 5-0 for the Phillies overall and 11-3 for the Phillies on Saturdays. However, the over is 5-1-1 in the Braves’ last seven home games, 4-2-1 in the Braves’ last seven against the N.L. East, 4-1 in Philly’s last five against the N.L. East and 5-0 in Philly’s last five against southpaw starters.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


AMERICAN LEAGUE

L.A. Angels (38-24) at Oakland (33-28)


The top two teams in the A.L. West continue a weekend series at McAfee Coliseum, with Jon Garland (5-3, 3.99) set to toe the rubber for the Angels against Oakland’s Greg Smith (3-4, 3.56).

Behind another dominating start from ace John Lackey, Los Angeles took Friday’s series opener 3-1 to extend its winning streak to six in a row while halting Oakland’s four-game winning run. The Angels are now 20-11 on the road this year, while the A’s are 20-14 at McAfee, including 8-3 in the last 11.

The clubs split a four-game series in Los Angeles in the first clashes of 2008 between the clubs. The road team is 6-3 in the last nine series meetings, and the Angels have won four of the last five in Oakland.

The Angels scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Blue Jays on Sunday to win 4-3 and get Garland off the hook for a loss. In the outing, Garland gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in five innings. It was his shortest stint since going five innings at Seattle on April 12, a span of nine starts. Also, the Angels are 6-3 in Garland’s last nine outings.

Garland is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA on the road this season, but he’s 3-9 with a 5.01 ERA in 14 career starts against the A’s, including 2-5 with a 3.86 ERA at McAfee Coliseum. In fact, the right-hander’s worst start of the season came at home against Oakland on April 28, as he got lit up for seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in six innings, falling 14-2.

Smith is coming off by far his worst start of the season, as he got rocked for seven runs on seven hits in five innings on Sunday at Texas, though the A’s bailed him out in a 13-8 victory. Oakland is 7-4 in Smith’s 11 outings this year, with the southpaw giving up three earned runs or fewer in nine of those contests.

Smith is 2-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five home starts this year. However, in his first career start against the Halos on April 29 in L.A., he took a 2-0 loss despite giving up just the two runs on three hits in eight innings.

Since getting crushed in that 14-2 loss to the A’s, Garland has stayed under the total in six consecutive starts. Meanwhile, Smith’s start at Texas on Sunday easily flew over the total, ending a 6-0 “under” run with the 24-year-old on the hill.

For Los Angeles, the under is on runs of 22-7 overall, 8-2 on the road, 7-1 against left-handed starters and 11-1-1 on Saturdays. Conversely, the over is 4-2 in Oakland’s last six overall and 5-1-2 in its last eight on Saturdays.

Finally, the under is 39-16-2 in the past 57 series meetings between these rivals, including 5-0-1 in the last five battles in Oakland.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


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Athletics looking to close gap this weekend

The fight for first place in the AL West heats up over the weekend when the division-leading Los Angeles Angels take on the second-place Oakland Athletics. Oakland enters the weekend 3.5 games back of the Angels and could make up some much-needed ground with a series sweep.

In Friday’s series opener the Angels send their ace John Lackey (1-1, 1.80) to the mound, while Oakland counters with right hander Joe Blanton (3-7, 4.27). Lackey is coming off a no-decision against Toronto in which he deserved a win after allowing only one run in eight innings. Lackey has enjoyed pitching in Oakland in his career where he is 12-3 with a 2.84 ERA in 23 starts.

Blanton’s recent struggles continued last time out, as he was roughed up for six runs in six innings against the Rangers. This will be Blanton first start against the Angels this year, but he was 3-0 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts against them last season.

In Game 2 on Saturday the Angels hand the ball to Jon Garland (5-3, 3.99), while Oakland goes with Greg Smith (3-4, 3.56). Garland picked up his fourth no-decision in his last five starts last time out after allowing thee runs in five innings against Toronto. Garland faced Oakland earlier this season and was shelled for seven runs on six innings.

Smith escaped with a no-decision in his last start after getting roughed up for seven runs in five innings. Smith was a hard-luck loser against the Angels earlier this season after allowing only two runs in eight innings in a 2-0 loss.

In Sunday’s series finale Ervin Santana (8-2, 3.02) starts for the Angels and Rich Harden (3-0, 2.61) takes to the hill for Oakland. Santana was dominant again in his last start versus Seattle, in which he held the Mariners to two runs in seven 2-3 innings. Santana tossed six 2-3 strong innings, allowing one unearned run in his last start against the Angels.

Harden continued his return to form after a stint on the DL with a no-decision in his last start, allowing two runs with eight strikeouts in six 2-3 innings against the Tigers.

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Forecasts for this weekend's four-game series
By SCOTT RICKENBACH

New York Mets at San Diego Padres

The Mets come into this weekend series on a 7-2 run but let’s not forget that they were just 11-17 on the road this season before winning the last two games of their series at San Francisco. Also, the Padres have won six of their last 10 games and their overall poor record overshadows the fact that they have been decent at home. We could find some value with them at a few spots in this series.

The over might be a place to look as the Padres have a reputation as a low-scoring team. However, they’ve been scoring more than usual over the past 10 games, while the Mets also have used their lumber to improve their recent results during a 7-2 run.

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Cubs have put up some impressive numbers so far this season and, of course, that’s why their record ranks them as one of the top teams in baseball. However, heading into this series, they are hitting 51 points lower on the road in comparison with at home. Also, their road record is a respectable, but certainly not impressive, 12-14 so far this season.

Even still, those of you wanting to back the Dodgers be forewarned: this team cannot score runs! Amazingly, they have been either shut out or held to just one run in 10 of their last 13 games. Looks like the under should get some attention in this series.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Pittsburgh Pirates

With the Diamondbacks still mired in a horrific long-term slump, the Pirates could offer us some good value spots in this series. Keep in mind that Pittsburgh is a respectable 16-12 at home and the D-backs have a very soft 11-16 road record. The Diamondbacks just got swept in a three-game series at Milwaukee and the Brewers won the last two games by a combined score of 17-2. Ouch! Certainly it would be hard to fade Brandon Webb on Friday but the remainder of this series should certainly offer some opportunities to play on Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Reds at Florida Marlins

The Reds are struggling again. After some strong offensive performances recently, Cincinnati ended up struggling badly at Philly in a four-game set. They won only one game, thanks to a strong effort from Edinson Volquez. Cincinnati only scored eight runs in the entire four-game series and this was at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park in Philly.

That doesn’t bode well for the Reds in Florida. Heading into Thursday’s action, the Marlins had scored 59 runs in their last 11 games. This is a tough matchup to call though as some pretty good pitching matchups are on deck in this series. When those come up, a look at the under may be worth it because the Reds' bats are likely to continue their swoon.

San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals

The Nationals just can’t score runs right now and it’s killing them. Heading into Thursday’s double-header, the Nats had been held to two runs or less in 12 of their last 18 games. That is simply amazing offensive futility. Of course injuries haven’t helped but it is what it is. In Game 1 of the double-header Thursday, it took them until the eighth inning before they finally got on the board.

This offense is a mess and should be no match for a resurgent Giants lineup. This is a prime example of where full-season numbers can be deceiving because the Giants have indeed averaged 5.5 runs in their last 12 games heading into this series but their full-season numbers indicate a much weaker offense. Make no mistake, the Giants have enough sticks to win a few of these games in Washington against the punchless Nationals and we should get some line value since they are on the road.

Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees

The Royals have lost 14 of 16 entering Thursday’s action. As a result you better believe the prices will be high with a Yankees club that, even in a down year, is not easy pickings at home. We may look for value with overs with a couple of the right pitching match-ups. As long as we have a good match-up for the Royals to give us some runs we do expect the Yankees hitters to crush the Royals pitching this weekend.

Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

Minnesota has been enjoying some surprising success of late and they’ve been hitting the ball better. Also, the White Sox offense appeared to be cooling off but they got the benefit of facing Royals pitching. With both lineups coming in fairly hot and confident for this series, we will definitely be seeking some value spots on over plays. The Twins had averaged nearly six runs per game in their last 16 games heading into Thursday’s action.

Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers

Speaking of hot offenses, heading into Thursday’s series finale with the Rangers, the Indians have certainly enjoyed their time down in Texas. The Tribe was 2-1 through the first three games and had scored - get this - 35 runs in the series. No matter what happens on Thursday night, the Indians have proven they can score in the right setting.

Detroit has allowed 32 runs in their last six games even though they faced the weak AL West offenses of the Mariners and the Athletics. Now they must face a surging Indians offense and we’ll be looking for overs in this series. The Tigers bats been quieted some on the road but don’t forget they scored 54 runs in their last six home games. They should resume the slugging here but the Indians should certainly answer them run for run.

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Baseball Today

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers (3:55 p.m. EDT). Carlos Zambrano (8-1) has seven wins and three no-decisions since his only loss at Philadelphia on April 11. He leads Chicago against the Dodgers and Derek Lowe (3-5).

Friday

-Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks, became the majors' first 11-game winner after limiting Pittsburgh to one run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 victory.

-Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe, Rockies. Atkins tied the game with a two-run triple and Hawpe gave Colorado the lead with a two-run homer in a five-run eighth inning in a 6-4 win over Milwaukee.

-Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede, White Sox. Quentin hit a three-run homer and Crede went 4-for-4 with two homers in Chicago's 10-6 win over Minnesota.

-Shane Victorino, Phillies, drove in the go-ahead run with a triple in the top of the 10th, then threw out Gregor Blanco at the plate as the attempted tying run in the bottom of the inning in a 4-3 victory over Atlanta.

-Felix Hernandez, Mariners, allowed six hits in six shutout innings and three Seattle pitchers shut out Boston 8-0.

-Jay Bruce, Reds, had three hits and three RBIs in an 11-3 victory over Florida.

-Scott Kazmir, Rays, gave up two runs and six hits in eight innings to extend his winning streak to a career-best six straight starts with a 12-4 victory over Texas.

-Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers, allowed four hits and struck out a career-high 11 in his first complete game in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

SUSPENDED

A day after the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays tangled, Major League Baseball suspended eight players for a total of 38 games. Boston outfielder Coco Crisp and Tampa Bay pitcher James Shields, whose fight turned into a wild, bench-clearing brawl at Fenway Park, were the hardest hit. Crisp got seven games, pitcher Jon Lester received five games and first baseman Sean Casey three. For Tampa Bay, Shields got six games, DH-outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher Edwin Jackson five games each, outfielder Carl Crawford received four games and second baseman Akinori Iwamura got three. All eight players also were fined undisclosed amounts.

SCRATCHED

Texas Rangers shortstop Michael Young was scratched from the lineup against the Tampa Rays due to a bruised left ring finger. Young had started 60 of Texas' first 62 games and carries a 21-game hitting streak, longest in the majors this season and four short of his career high. Ramon Vazquez, the Rangers' regular third baseman, got his fifth start of the season at shortstop, with catcher Gerald Laird drawing his first career start at third base.

SINGLES KING

Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson went 3-for-4 with three singles for his first three-hit game since last June 1. It was the first time the power-hitting Sexson had three singles in a game since Sept. 25, 2006, against Oakland.

WINNING WEBB

Brandon Webb became the majors' first 11-game winner, holding Pittsburgh to one run and three hits over seven innings in the Diamondbacks' 3-1 victory over the Pirates. Webb (11-2), coming off a 4-0 shutout over Washington on Saturday in which he yielded only six singles, didn't allow a hit until Jose Bautista's two-out single in the fifth. The right-hander has permitted only one extra-base hit - Jason Bay's RBI double in the sixth - while giving up nine hits and one run in 16 innings over his past two starts.

WELCOME BACK

The Colorado Rockies activated right fielder Brad Hawpe from the 15-day disabled list before their game with the Milwaukee Brewers. Hawpe has been out since May 21 because of a strained right hamstring. Hawpe has gotten off to a slow start this season, hitting just .231 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 42 games.

AT A LOSS

Detroit's Justin Verlander lost for the ninth time this season to tie San Francisco's Barry Zito for the major league lead. Verlander gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings in a 4-2 loss to Cleveland. He struck out a season-high eight and issued four walks. Verlander already has three more losses this season in 13 starts than he had last year in 32.

SWINGS

The Yankees have scored only three runs in Darrell Rasner's past three starts - all losses - after tallying 21 in his first three outings - all wins - this season. Rasner threw 118 pitches, the most by a Yankees starter this season, in a 2-1 loss to Kansas City on Friday night. ... Johnny Damon is batting .231 in Yankees losses this season and .394 in their wins. He hasn't struck out in his past 48 plate appearances, the longest such active streak in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

TRIAL DATE SET

Barry Bonds' trial date on federal charges of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance-enhancing drugs was set for March 2, 2009, on Friday after baseball's home run king pleaded not guilty when he was re-arraigned on 15 felony counts of lying under oath and obstruction of justice. Lead Bonds attorney Allen Ruby pleaded not guilty to the charges on the slugger's behalf, while Bonds stood silently in front of the judge. Ninety minutes later, Ruby agreed to the date before a second judge.

SPEAKING

``It is tough for me to look at my record right now, so I try not to do it. I just have to stay focused and try to control what I can control.'' - Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who dropped to 2-9 after giving up three runs and five hits in seven innings of a 4-2 loss to Cleveland on Friday night.

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