DETROIT -- The wintry weather system that put metro Detroit over the top for its snowiest season on record put a stop to the latest AL Central clash between the Tigers and Indians. Tuesday night's series opener at Comerica Park was postponed due to inclement weather.
No makeup date was announced Tuesday, but it won't be made up this series, which will now be a two-game set with games Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. The Indians return to town after the All-Star break for a three-game series July 18-20 and another three-game set Sept. 12-14. Both teams have two days off after the All-Star break.
Tickets for Tuesday's game will be honored for the makeup date, which no ticket exchange necessary.
Anibal Sanchez, who was scheduled for Tuesday, will instead start Wednesday night's game against the Indians. Justin Verlander remains on schedule to start Thursday's series finale. That means Drew Smyly, Wednesday's previously scheduled starter, will be pushed back by a weather postponement for the second time in two weeks.
Tigers players and coaches had been looking at Tuesday's game with unease since last weekend, when they were still basking in the warmth of the West Coast. A storm system of cold and snow lived up to forecasts, dropping 2-3 inches of snow across the area overnight and covering the field at Comerica Park.
The bigger concern, however, might have been the temperatures, which barely crept above freezing during the day. The hourly forecast from weather.com called for temperatures in Detroit around 33 degrees at first pitch with a wind chill of 22, dropping further as the night went along.
Tuesday was the first scheduled night game of the season at Comerica Park. The Tigers opened the season at home with five afternoon games. They lost a game from that homestand, too, to a postponement, with rain washing out an April 3 game against the Royals. That game will be made up June 19.
Smyly is the Tigers' fifth starter, but hasn't made a start yet this season. Between two postponed games and four scheduled off-days, the Tigers have played just 10 games in 16 days since the season began. Barring another postponement, however, Smyly will have to start at some point this week, because the Tigers have games scheduled for the next 12 days.
The Tigers will need a fifth starter by Sunday at the latest, meaning Smyly will have to make a start against the Angels this weekend. He'll face a much more right-handed lineup than the Indians club he was slated to face, but the Angels have nearly identical batting averages and OPS against right-handed pitchers and lefties.
Tuesday's postponement also pushes back the Tigers' celebration of Jackie Robinson Day, honoring the anniversary of Robinson becoming the first African-American player in the Major Leagues. Players and coaches on both teams will all wear Robinson's number 42 on Wednesday. Tuesday's scheduled pregame ceremonies honoring winners of the Tigers' 18th annual Jackie Robinson Art, Essay and Poetry Contest will be rescheduled for the makeup game later in the season.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.