DETROIT -- Manager Ron Gardenhire has been counting down the days until rosters expand in September for a while now. The Tigers' skipper wants to look at a few youngsters from Triple-A Toledo. He wants to look at fresh arms in his bullpen.The 6-1 loss to the White Sox on
DETROIT -- Manager Ron Gardenhire has been counting down the days until rosters expand in September for a while now. The Tigers' skipper wants to look at a few youngsters from Triple-A Toledo. He wants to look at fresh arms in his bullpen.
The 6-1 loss to the White Sox on Saturday night at Comerica Park didn't help. The hangover effect from the Tigers' late-inning loss Friday night carried over, except this one wasn't nearly as suspenseful. Kevan Smith's (Webby) two-run home run paced a White Sox onslaught on Ryan Carpenter (Carp) with a shortened bullpen.
:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
The Tigers' second straight loss in the series was arguably a product of Friday, when six relievers were called upon as the White Sox rallied for a 6-3 win. Not only did the Tigers take a loss, they took a bullpen with just two fresh arms into Saturday as Carpenter (1-2) tried to follow up his first Major League win.
• Tigers' Players' Weekend nicknames | Shop for gear
From Jose Rondon's (Goyo) RBI double to the center-field wall two batters into the game, however, the White Sox were swinging. And Carpenter, working through some of the same mechanical issues that have bothered him all season, was struggling.
Rondon was thrown out trying for a triple, quieting the first inning, but Smith hit a fastball deep to left for a no-doubt homer the next inning before three more hits resulted in a two-run third.
"I felt my tempo was fine, but my fastball was up in the zone," Carpenter said. "I got behind guys and just wasn't throwing quality strikes."
Gardenhire did not agree on the tempo.
"The game really dragged," he said. "We needed to pick up the pace, tried a couple times. It just didn't work out."
Gardenhire can take pitchers struggling, but pace has been a point of emphasis with Tigers hurlers all season. On another night, it might have led to an early exit for Carpenter. But with the bullpen taxed, Gardenhire had to wait it out.
"We had to let him pitch a little bit," Gardenhire said. "We needed some innings. We really didn't have much choice after the last couple games."
The Tigers' choice came after the game, when they optioned Carpenter to Triple-A Toledo. A corresponding move will be announced before Sunday's game, likely to add a fresh arm, possibly Blaine Hardy if he's ready to return from the 10-day disabled list. What happens with Carpenter's rotation spot remains to be seen, but the Tigers could go with a four-man rotation for a stretch next week thanks to Monday's off-day. Daniel Norris could be ready for the rotation's next turn, depending on his rehab start Sunday for Toledo.
The Tigers stuck with Carpenter before Matt Davidson's RBI double chased him with one out in the fifth. Drew VerHagen (Vergy) offered 2 2/3 scoreless innings of long relief, but the Tigers could do little to come back off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito (Big Foot) aside from a Michael Mahtook (Night Hawk) solo homer in the second inning.
Detroit had hit Giolito (10-9) for a 6.88 ERA in three previous starts this season, but the 23-year-old right-hander held the Tigers to three hits -- two of them by Jose Iglesias (Candelita) -- over seven innings with a walk and six strikeouts for his third straight win. Iglesias finished with a three-hit night.
By throwing out Rondon trying to take third base in the opening inning, the Tigers took over the Major League lead with their 30th outfield assist of the season, one ahead of the Orioles and Rangers.
After the Tigers officially retire Hall of Famer Alan Trammell's No. 3 in a pregame ceremony, they'll take their swings at White Sox prospect Michael Kopech (Kopey) (0-0, 0.00 ERA) in his second Major League start as the series, and Players' Weekend, wraps up with a 1:10 p.m. ET game at Comerica Park. Jordan Zimmermann (J Z) (6-5, 4.18) will start for Detroit.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.