Description: Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks needs back surgery and will likely miss 12 weeks, according to Chris Iott of mlive.com.
Insight: Dirks hit .256 with nine homers, 37 RBI and a .686 OPS in 131 games last season, down from .322 (boosted by a .365 BABIP), eight home runs, 35 RBI and an .857 OPS in 2012. His absence will lead to more at-bats for expected platoon partner Rajai Davis.
Description: Tigers righthander Justin Verlander (core muscle surgery) threw a live batting practice session of around 50 pitches, according to Detroit beat writer Chris Iott.
Insight: He should throw another session Thursday and then be ready for Grapefruit league action. He should be ready for the start of the season and hopefully will rebound from last year's "mediocre-for-him" season.
Description: According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, Tigers DH Victor Martinez will catch more this season.
Insight: Martinez caught just three games last season which isn't enough to be eligible in many leagues. Manager Brad Ausmus called Martinez and apparently both are excited about the change. With 10 games in NL parks, it could be a way to get Martinez into the lineup and the result would be great for fantasy owners with another big bat available to start at catcher.
Description: Tigers righthander Justin Verlander (core muscle surgery) threw 20 pitches off a mound on Monday according to MLive's Chris Iott. Verlander expects to make five starts in spring training and if all goes well, be ready for Opening Day.
Insight: "My goal now is the start of the season," Verlander said. "Whether that's Game 1, I don't know. But I intend on being ready." That's great news for fantasy owners. The righthander did not pitch up to the standard he set in 2011-12 for most of 2013 but he finished the year strong by allowing just one earned run in his last five starts (postseason included).
Description: Detroit starter Justin Verlander had surgery to repair a core muscle on Thursday. SOURCE: Tigers on Twitter
Insight: He'll need about six weeks to recover. Verlander (13-12, 3.46 ERA) could miss the start of spring training but he should be back to 100 percent by Opening Day. Fantasy owners have nothing to worry about.
Description: The Tigers added a bullpen arm on Thursday by signing righthander Joba Chamberlain to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. SOURCE: Buster Olney, ESPN
Insight: Once considered a top prospect, Chamberlain has never lived up to the hype, generating just 23 wins across seven seasons in the Bronx. Leaving New York might clear his head a bit but it won't help his fantasy value.
Description: Rajai Davis' new deal with the Tigers will pay him $10 million over the next two seasons. SOURCE: Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sportnet
Insight: Davis has 50-steal potential but he probably won't get close to that while playing in Detroit. He's going to platoon with Andy Dirks in left field. In 331 at-bats for Toronto in 2013, Davis produced six homers, 24 RBI and 49 runs scored.
Description: Free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta is close to signing a multi-year deal with St. Louis. SOURCE: Jerry Crasnick, ESPN
Insight: The shortstop duo of Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma struggled mightily in the World Series (combined 1-for-20) so Peralta represents an obvious upgrade. We'll have contract details when the deal becomes official.
Description: According to cbssports.com's Jon Heyman, the Rangers have agreed to trade second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers for Prince Fielder.
Insight: The Rangers wanted to open up second base for top prospect Jurickson Profar, and getting rid of Fielder's contract may allow Detroit to re-sign Max Scherzer. Kinsler has produced two 30-30 seasons but he has averaged just 16 homers, 18 steals and 72 RBI the last two seasons. His fantasy value doesn't change much from the trade.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is the American League MVP for the second year in a row.
Insight: He's the first back-to-back winner in the AL since Frank Thomas in 1993-94. Angels outfielder Mike Trout finished second just like he did in 2012. Cabrera belted 44 HR and 137 RBI this year while hitting a career-best .348.
Description: Detroit ace Max Scherzer is your 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner.
Insight: Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA) was the obvious choice. He led the majors in victories and was second in the AL in strikeouts with 240. It's possible that Scherzer has pitched his last game for the Tigers. Detroit is apparently shopping the righthander in anticipation of him signing elsewhere after the 2014 season.
Description: According to Jon Morosi of foxsports.com, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said the team intends for Drew Smyly to be in its 2014 rotation, which supports the belief that the team will shop Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello.
Insight: Smyly made 63 relief appearances and threw 76 innings this past season. He went 6-0 with 21 holds, two saves, 81 strikeouts, a 2.37 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. The lefty made 18 starts for Detroit in 2012.
Description: If the Tigers are serious about trading Max Scherzer, the Nationals could be one of the teams interested. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: Scherzer is in the last year of his contract and it's going to be tough to retain him given all the money Detroit already owes Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder, Anibal Sanchez and Miguel Cabrera. Scherzer's agent, Scott Boras, is well-known for steering his clients toward Washington and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was actually the one who drafted Scherzer out of college (Rizzo was working with the Diamondbacks at the time). Scherzer would fit nicely in a rotation that already includes power arms like Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.
Description: The Tigers won't pick up Jose Veras' team option for next season. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Veras came over from Houston at the trade deadline. He saw mixed results as Detroit's setup man, finishing with a 3.20 ERA in 25 appearances. Veras ended his season and quite possibly his career with the Tigers by giving up a series-clinching grand slam to Shane Victorino in Game 6 of the ALCS.
Description: Impending free agent Jhonny Peralta is hoping to return to the Tigers in 2014. SOURCE: Detroit Free Press
Insight: Though it probably wouldn't be as a shortstop. Peralta's 50-game PED suspension this past summer allowed Jose Iglesias to settle in as one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. Peralta did play a little bit of left field during the playoffs but the Tigers may opt to promote from within rather than overpaying for Peralta in free agency. The 31-year-old hit .303 in 409 regular season at bats.
Description: Miguel Cabrera's groin injury might require surgery in the offseason. SOURCE: Chris Iott, MLive.com
Insight: Cabrera was noticeably hobbled during the playoffs, though he still managed a respectable seven RBI in 11 games. We expect him to return to his normal spot in the batting order next season after hitting second during the team's ALCS loss to Boston.
Description: Tigers catcher Alex Avila is expected to play Saturday in Game 6 after leaving Thursday's game early with a left knee injury. SOURCE: Fox Sports
Insight: Avila was shaken up after getting steamrolled by David Ross at home plate. With Detroit's season on the line, Avila will tough it out and make his 11th start of the postseason. He's had an up and down series offensively with three hits in 12 at bats (1 HR, 3 RBI).
Description: Detroit catcher Alex Avila has been diagnosed with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee. SOURCE: Buster Olney, ESPN
Insight: Avila injured it when David Ross ran into him at home plate. Brayan Pena has come on to play catcher. Fox broadcaster Joe Buck noted that Don Kelly is the team's emergency catcher though the Tigers also have the option of giving up the DH and putting Victor Martinez behind the plate.
Description: Tigers catcher Alex Avila was replaced by backup Brayan Pena in the fourth inning of Thursday's Game 5 against the Red Sox.
Insight: Boston catcher David Ross absolutely clobbered Avila on a play at the plate in the second inning and clearly Avila is still feeling the effects. Avila flied out to left field in his only at bat of the night.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is a career .462 hitter against Boston left-hander Jon Lester.
Insight: He's one of three Tigers starters with at least a .450 regular season batting average against Lester (minimum 10 AB). Martinez had a big second half of the season and has continue to rake into the playoffs. He's 15-for-35 (.428) in nine postseason games this year.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera is a career 10-for-19 (.526) against Boston starter Jon Lester during the regular season.
Insight: Cabrera was 1-for-3 against Lester in the series opener. Manager Jim Leyland mixed up the order Wednesday night and Cabrera hit second. After scoring seven runs last night with Torii Hunter leading off and Cabrera in the No. 2 hole, expect the same lineup for Game 5.
Description: Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson has been dropped to eighth in the order.
Insight: Jackson has been miserable in the postseason with just three hits in 33 at bats. He's struck out 18 times over that span including twice yesterday in a 1-0 loss to the Red Sox. Detroit needs to win Wednesday's Game 4 to avoid falling into a 3-1 hole.
Description: Detroit's lineup for Game 4 is much different than the one we saw Tuesday night in Game 3. Miguel Cabrera, usually the Tigers' three-hitter, will bat second Wednesday versus Red Sox starter Jake Peavy.
Insight: It's the first time Cabrera has hit second in the order since 2004 when he still played for the Marlins. Meanwhile, Torii Hunter is hitting leadoff for the first time since 1999. The Tigers as a team are hitting .225 for the series. The Red Sox, who lead two games to one, are hitting .133.
Description: Detroit DH Victor Martinez was replaced on the base paths because of a leg cramp late in Game 3 but he's expected to play Wednesday night in Game 4. SOURCE: Tigers.com
Insight: Martinez has probably been the Tigers' most consistent hitter this series with four hits in 11 trips to the plate. Even if the leg injury was bothering Martinez, it wouldn't be a big deal because he rarely plays the field. He's a .286 lifetime hitter versus tonight's starter Jake Peavy.
Description: Tigers ace Justin Verlander (8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 10 K's, 1 BB) only made one mistake Tuesday against the Red Sox, but it ended up costing him.
Insight: Verlander's 3-2 fastball to Mike Napoli in the seventh inning caught a little too much of the plate and Napoli made him pay by launching a solo homer to deep left center field. These two have a history as Napoli went yard against Verlander in his first major league at bat back in 2006. The run was the first Verlander had allowed in almost a month (September 18th against Seattle). He's in line to pitch Game 7, if necessary.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is 11-for-27 (.407) against Boston's Game 3 starter John Lackey.
Insight: V-Mart was a hot hitter during the second half of the season (.361) and has stayed hot in the postseason. The heart of the Tigers order - Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Martinez have all had success versus Lackey.
Description: Tigers manager Jim Leyland told ESPN's Buster Olney that Andy Dirks is likely to start in left field Tuesday in Game 3 against the Red Sox.
Insight: Left field has been a rotating door for the Tigers this postseason. Jhonny Peralta started their in Game 1 with Don Kelly getting the nod Sunday in Game 2. Dirks is hitless in three at bats this postseason, though he has managed to score two runs.
Description: Despite taking a nasty fall in Sunday's loss to the Red Sox, Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter doesn't expect to miss any time. SOURCE: USA Today
Insight: Hunter plunged over the right field fence in an attempt to steal a home run away from David Ortiz. Hunter cut his head and seemed to be a little disoriented after the fall but he stayed in the game. X-rays on his shoulder, which was also hurt on the play, came back negative. The nine-time Gold Glover is just 1-for-10 in the series.
Description: Five Tigers pitchers combined to one-hit the Red Sox Saturday in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Insight: Anibal Sanchez was effectively wild on Saturday night, striking out 12 hitters while walking six in his six innings of work. Sanchez became the first pitcher in postseason history to depart after six innings with a no-hitter still in tact. Daniel Nava ended the no-hit bid in the ninth by clubbing a single to center field. The Tigers have now won their last two games by a combined score of 4-0.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is hitless in six career at-bats versus Boston starter Clay Buchholz.
Insight: V-Mart was a hot hitter during the second half of the season (.361) and carried that through the first round of the playoffs against Oakland (9-for-20), but went 0-for-4 in the first game of this series.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter is a .143 career hitter (3-for-21) against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.
Insight: The veteran outfielder is one of the setup guys for Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, but isn't likely to help much in Sunday's game as he's batting just .166 this postseason and faces an unfavorable matchup.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter is a .478 career hitter against Red Sox starter Jon Lester.
Insight: Hunter is 11-for-23 with three doubles against Boston's ALCS Game 1 starter. The veteran outfielder is one of three Tigers, along with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, who have more than 10 at-bats and are batting over .450 against Lester.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who hit a two-run homer in Game 5 of the ALCS to help Detroit knock off the A's, is 10-for-19 (.526) against Boston's ALCS Game 1 starter Jon Lester.
Insight: Cabrera had hit just one home run since Aug. 26 prior to his Game 5 blast, and it came back on Sept. 17. He was nagged by injuries throughout September and is still dealing with them, but he still had a hit in all five division series games.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander has thrown 27 scoreless innings with 43 strikeouts in his last four starts.
Insight: Verlander sent the Athletics packing with eight shutout innings in Game 5 of the ALDS Thursday night. He seems to have rediscovered his dominance after having a disappointing year by his standards.
Description: Detroit manager named right-hander Anibal Sanchez the Game 1 ALCS starter.
Insight: After years of displaying no-hit stuff but getting inconsistent results, Sanchez had a breakout season in 2013, going 14-8 with a league-leading 2.57 ERA, 202 strikeouts and a 2.39 FIP in 182 innings.
Description: Danny Knobler of CBS Sports is hearing that Tigers ace Max Scherzer has a "very real chance" of being traded this offseason.
Insight: With Prince Fielder, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander locked into long-term deals, the Tigers may not have enough money left over to keep Scherzer when he becomes a free agent after next season. It would be a bombshell of a deal though trading a Cy Young winner (we assume Scherzer will win the award when it's announced next month) isn't unprecedented. Cliff Lee was traded the year after he won the Cy Young in 2009 as was R.A. Dickey when he went from the Mets to the Blue Jays in 2013. David Price, the 2012 American League Cy Young, could be on the trading block this winter as well.
Description: Tigers righthander Justin Verlander is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts against Oakland this season.
Insight: Being on the mound for a decisive Game 5 at the Oakland Coliseum isn't exactly breaking new ground for Verlander. In fact, this exact situation unfolded last season when Verlander went nine innings for the shutout to send Detroit to the ALCS. Of Oakland's starters, only Coco Crisp is hitting better than .300 against the former Cy Young winner. We're expecting another strong outing from Verlander in Game 5.
Description: Detroit starter Justin Verlander will take the mound for Game 5 of the ALDS at Oakland on Thursday after the Tigers extended the series Tuesday.
Insight: The Tigers used Game 1 starter Max Scherzer for two innings out of the bullpen Tuesday so they'll go with Verlander, who gave up four hits, walked one and struck out 11 in seven innings in a no decision in Game 2. The right-hander has picked up three straight no decisions despite posting a 33/5 K/BB and a 0.00 ERA in 19 innings during that span.
Description: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter (left shoulder) is probable for Game 4 of the ALDS Tuesday against Oakland.
Insight: The veteran right fielder injured it early in Monday's loss to Oakland. X-rays were negative. It's nothing serious and we'd fully expect Hunter to play Tuesday in Game 4 of the Division Series. He's 2-for-10 in the first three games of the series, but 7-for-10 with three homers versus Oakland Game 4 starter Dan Straily.
Description: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter (left shoulder) is probable for Game 4 of the ALDS Tuesday against Oakland.
Insight: The veteran right fielder injured it early in Monday's loss to Oakland. X-rays were negative. It's nothing serious and we'd fully expect Hunter to play Tuesday in Game 4 of the Division Series. He's 2-for-10 in the first three games of the series.
Description: Detroit righthander Max Scherzer held the Athletics to two runs on three hits Friday in a Game 1 victory at the Oakland Coliseum.
Insight: The triumph marked Scherzer's third career playoff win. He's now recorded double-digit strikeouts in two out of his last three postseason appearances. Scherzer will be on the mound for Game 5 next Thursday, if necessary.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is a career .500 hitter against Oakland starter Bartolo Colon.
Insight: Cabrera just completed another MVP-worthy season with a .348 average, 44 home runs, 137 RBI, 103 runs and a 1.078 OPS. He won his third straight batting title and finished second to Chris Davis in both home runs and RBI.
Description: Jhonny Peralta is on the Tigers' ALDS roster, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com.
Insight: The Tigers acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias while Peralta was serving a 50-game suspension, so all of Peralta's playing time will come in left field. Andy Dirks is starting out there in Game 1, however.
Description: Correcting a previous report, Max Scherzer will get the ball for the Tigers in Game 1 versus Oakland.
Insight: We had heard that Justin Verlander would start Game 1 but apparently he'll be on the mound for Game 2 instead. Scherzer, who is 2-1 all-time in the postseason (3.82 ERA in 33 innings), was winless in two starts against the A's during the regular season (4.91).
Description: Detroit righthander Justin Verlander fanned 10 Marlins in six shutout innings Sunday in the Tigers' final game of the regular season.
Insight: Of course, Verlander's performance was overshadowed by what turned out to be a walkoff no-hitter for Miami starter Henderson Alvarez. Verlander (13-12, 3.46 ERA) figures to be the No. 1 or 2 starter for Detroit's opening round series against Oakland.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter won't start Sunday against Miami.
Insight: Hunter's first season with the Tigers has been a success. In 144 games, he's produced 17 HR, 84 RBI and a .304 batting average while providing his usual stellar defense in right field. Andy Dirks (.257, 9 HR, 37 RBI) will make the start in right Sunday in the regular season finale.
Description: The Tigers are sitting Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Alex Avila and Torii Hunter Sunday, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
Insight: The Tigers clinched the AL Central and can afford to rest their players before the playoffs begin. Cabrera looked like he was going to blow by his numbers from last season, but injuries hampered him throughout the final month and he hit .284 with one home run and seven RBI in his last 25 games. Cabrera will finish with a .348 average, 44 home runs, 137 RBI, 103 runs and a 1.078 OPS. He won his third straight batting title but finished second to Chris Davis in both home runs and RBI.
Description: Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez will finish first in the American League with a 2.57 ERA.
Insight: Sanchez threw five shutout innings in his final start of the regular season, and the two closest pitchers to Sanchez, Bartolo Colon and Hisashi Iwakuma, both made their last start. After years of displaying no-hit stuff but getting inconsistent results, Sanchez had a breakout season in 2013, going 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA, 202 strikeouts and a 2.39 FIP in 182 innings.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera is 10-for-21 (.476) against Minnesota starter Scott Diamond with four extra base hits and a 1.304 OPS.
Insight: He tweaked his groin on Saturday and probably wouldn't play if the Tigers had clinched the division, but since they still need one more win he'll likely play Tuesday. He's also 5-for-8 over his last two starts, so the groin isn't hurting his swing.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera won't be in the lineup Sunday against the White Sox. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: He tweaked his groin on Saturday and probably won't be available for a couple of days. The Tigers almost have the division wrapped up so they can afford to give Miggy a rest. Don Kelly (.235, 6 HR, 23 RBI) will fill in at third base while he's out.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera left Saturday's game due to groin soreness and is day-to-day, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
Insight: Cabrera left the game prior to the top of the 10th inning. The superstar is likely to win his second straight MVP Award but injuries have cost him the chance to get his second straight Triple Crown. He has played 20 games and hit just .274 with one home run and six RBI since Aug. 27.
Description: A bruised hand will keep Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias out of the lineup Saturday against the White Sox. SOURCE: Tigers on Twitter
Insight: Iglesias has enjoyed a fine rookie season, contributing a .310 average while playing gold glove defense on the left side of the infield. Ramon Santiago will get the start in his absence Saturday night.
Description: Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (hand) left Thursday's game after taking a fastball off his left hand and while X-rays came back negative he is doubtful for Friday's game against the Chicago White Sox.
Insight: Iglesias is batting .310 this season (.276 with Detroit), but it's a bit deceiving as he provides little power (3 HR) or speed (5 SB).
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter won't be in the lineup Wednesday against Seattle. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Hunter hasn't been able to get it going in September. In 56 at bats this month, he's hitting just .179 with a .214 slugging percentage. Don Kelly (.236, 6 HR, 23 RBI) will get the start in right field.
Description: Detroit righthander Rick Porcello pitched six innings for his 13th win of the season Monday against Seattle.
Insight: Porcello has done well since his nine-run meltdown against Boston at the start of the month (2-0, 1.20 ERA in his last two starts). Still, he's unlikely to crack the Tigers' postseason starting rotation.
Description: Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie has allowed eight hits, including two doubles and one home run, in 19 career at-bats against Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder.
Insight: Fielder has disappointing numbers this season but he is finishing strong by hitting .367 with six homers, 19 RBI and a 1.019 OPS over his last 26 games. He should produce Sunday against Guthrie.
Description: Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson is 1-for-14 (.071) with three strikeouts against Royals starter Ervin Santana.
Insight: Jackson (.277, 11 HR, 43 RBI, 7 SB) hasn't been able to repeat his stellar 2012 season (.300, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 12 SB) but he is finishing with a strong September (.349 in 10 games). Saturday, however, is an unfavorable matchup.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was ejected mid at bat Monday against the White Sox.
Insight: He was arguing balls and strikes. Manager Jim Leyland was also tossed. The ejection happened in the first inning so Cabrera never logged an official at bat. Ramon Santiago has come on to play third base.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander gave up four runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over seven innings in a loss to Kansas City Saturday night.
Insight: Verlander has recorded a 3.67 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 49 innings since the start of August. After going 41-13 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 489 1/3 innings over the previous two seasons, he has dropped off to 12-11 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP in 192 2/3 frames this year.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder is hitless in six at-bats versus Royals starter Danny Duffy.
Insight: Fielder is actually hitting for a higher average against left-handers than right-handers (.295 vs. .264). Overall, fantasy owners have been unhappy with Fielders' production in 2013 (.274, 22 HR, 96 RBI, 810 OPS). Heading into the season in odd-numbers years he has averaged .295 with 102 runs, 44 HR, 126 RBI and a 1.002 OPS.
Description: Detroit starter Max Scherzer was handed his second loss of the season Tuesday night in Boston.
Insight: Scherzer (7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 8 K's, 3 BB) pitched well but Jon Lester was a tad better for the Red Sox (7 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 9 K's, 0 BB). Boston's two runs off Scherzer (19-2, 2.88 ERA) both came on a two-run single by Will Middlebrooks in the fifth inning. Scherzer will try to reach win No. 20 next time out against Chicago.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera (abdomen) is back in the lineup Tuesday against Boston after missing three games.
Insight: Cabrera (.358, 43 HR, 130 RBI) is battling an abdominal strain. The third baseman is 10-for-16 (.625) with five walks against Tuesday's starter Jon Lester and should be activated in all fantasy leagues.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is a career .600 hitter against Boston left-hander Jon Lester.
Insight: He's one of three Tigers starters with at least a .500 batting average against Lester (minimum 10 AB). V-Mart is hitting .298 with 73 RBI a year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. To top it off, he still holds catcher eligibility in most leagues despite playing only two games behind the plate.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera didn't play in Monday's series opener against the Red Sox and is expected to miss Tuesday's game.
Insight: He did take batting practice on Monday. Cabrera (.358, 43 HR, 130 RBI) is battling a strained abdomen. The Tigers list him as day-to-day, but this injury may cost him any chance of catching Chris Davis in home runs and repeating his Triple Crown season.
Description: Tigers starter Doug Fister blanked Boston over seven innings Monday to win his 12th game of the year.
Insight: Fister had been struggling lately, going 1-2 with a 5.70 ERA in his previous four starts. The right-hander has posted a fantastic 1.85 BB/9 and a 0.55 HR/9 in 179 2/3 innings this season, but he has had terrible batted ball luck with men on base.
Description: Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson is back in the lineup after missing Sunday's game with an injured shoulder.
Insight: Jackson (.270, 11 HR, 38 RBI, 6 SB) hasn't been able to repeat his stellar 2012 season (.300, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 12 SB) but he did pick up the pace a little bit in August (.280 AVG in 125 at bats). Perhaps he can build off that success and finish with a strong September.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is batting .417 against Red Sox starter John Lackey.
Insight: Lackey is the pitcher he'll be facing Monday at Fenway Park. What a steal this guy has been. V-Mart is hitting .298 with 73 RBI a year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. To top it off, he still holds catcher eligibility in most leagues despite playing only two games behind the plate.
Description: Tigers righthander Justin Verlander (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 6 K's, 2 BB) got back on track Sunday against Cleveland.
Insight: Unfortunately, the Tigers' bats fell silent and Verlander (12-10, 3.59 ERA) had to settle for a no-decision. His last win came on August 6th against this same Cleveland team. The five-start winless streak is Verlander's longest since 2008.
Description: The Tigers have called up top prospect Nick Castellanos (OF).
Insight: Castellanos hit .276 with 37 doubles, 18 homers and a 100/54 K/BB over 595 plate appearances with Triple-A Toledo this season. It's unclear if he'll take over as the everyday left fielder, but if he does he's worth adding in 12-team leagues.
Description: Detroit starter Victor Martinez hit .386 with two homers and 13 RBI in August.
Insight: Martinez is now hitting .298 with a .773 OPS on the year. That's pretty impressive considering he was batting .226 with a .606 OPS on June 21. Since then, Martinez has hit .375 with a .951 OPS in 63 games.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (abdomen) left Friday's game in the third inning.
Insight: Cabrera exited Thursday's game with discomfort in his abdominal area near his left hip flexor, the same one that gave him issues last month, and he looked uncomfortable in his only at-bat Friday.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera doesn't expect to miss Friday's series opener against Cleveland. Cabrera left Thursday's game against Oakland with abominal discomfort. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a couple of singles before exiting in the fifth inning. If he's in the lineup Friday, it will probably be as a DH.
Description: Torii Hunter saved the best for last. His three-run homer in the ninth inning capped a six-run comeback by Detroit Thursday against Oakland.
Insight: Hunter is 38 and he might be having his best season yet. Thursday's walkoff was his 16th of the year. That's the same number he had last season and there's still a month left in the season. Hunter's .308 batting average ranks sixth in the American League.
Description: Tigers ace Max Scherzer (5 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's) was able to avoid losing Thursday against Oakland but only by the grace of Torii Hunter.
Insight: Scherzer put Detroit in an early 6-0 hole by serving up home runs to Jed Lowrie and Brandon Moss but Hunter bailed him out in the ninth with a walkoff three-run homer. Scherzer (19-1, 2.90 ERA) hasn't had many outings like this in 2013 and we'd expect him to be much better next time out against the Red Sox.
Description: In a battle of All-Star starting pitchers, Tigers ace Max Scherzer reigned supreme on Saturday.
Insight: Scherzer (19-1, 2.73 ERA) was remarkable on Saturday, fanning 11 Mets hitters over six shutout innings. He got himself into a bases loaded jam in the sixth but was able to work his way out of it. Matt Harvey, the pitcher Scherzer opposed in last month's All-Star Game (also held at Citi Field), allowed two runs and 13 hits in six innings. The loss was Harvey's fifth of the season.
Description: Detroit starter Justin Verlander got rocked Thursday versus Minnesota (7 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K's).
Insight: He owns a 3.90 ERA in the month of August. Verlander told reporters before the All-Star break that he had identified and fixed a flaw in his mechanics but his results suggest otherwise. The 2011 AL Cy Young winner is winless in his last three starts (0-1, 4.90).
Description: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson is just 1-for-11 (.091) against Royals starter Wade Davis.
Insight: Add in that he's 1-for-20 over the past four games and fantasy owners should avoid this matchup. Jackson has tailed off from last season, when he hit .300 with an .856 OPS. He's only batting .261 with nine home runs, 28 RBI, 74 runs, six steals and a .738 OPS this season.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has another nice matchup with Kansas City starter Wade Davis as he's a career .357 hitter against the right-hander with a pair of home runs and a 1.269 OPS.
Insight: Cabrera didn't homer on Thursday or Friday ... that's bigger news than him hitting another one over the fence. He's having an MVP season - batting .358 with 38 HR and 115 RBI and has a favorable matchup.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander fired eight innings and allowed two runs on seven hits Friday afternoon against the Royals, but he took the loss.
Insight: Royals lefty Danny Duffy shut out the Tigers on one hit over six innings and Detroit dropped a 2-1 decision. Verlander has posted a 2.48 ERA and a 28/8 K/BB in 29 innings over his last four starts.
Description: Detroit switch-hitter Victor Martinez will make his 10th start this season at first base on Friday.
Insight: This could make his eligible in some fantasy leagues at a position other than DH. Price Fielder is the DH in Game 1 of the twinbill. Martinez has finally found his swing, batting .392 in July and .352 in August.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has a particularly juicy matchup in the second game of the doubleheader with Kansas City as he's a career .429 hitter against right-hander James Shields.
Insight: Cabrera didn't homer on Thursday ... that's bigger news than him hitting another one over the fence. He's having an MVP season - batting .359 with 38 HR and 115 RBI.
Description: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson has slipped into a 2-for-19 (.105) slump over his last four games and he hasn't had success against Jeremy Guthrie of the Royals.
Insight: Jackson has tailed off from last season, when he hit .300 with an .856 OPS. He's only batting .264 with nine home runs and a .743 OPS this season and is 4-for-23 (.174) with eight K against Guthrie. He's the only Tigers regular who doesn't have at least a .300 lifetime average against the Royals starter.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder is showing signs of life by hitting .316 with four doubles and five RBI over his last eight games and also has a favorable matchup Thursday against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie.
Insight: Fielder hasn't homered in 19 straight games and is hitting just .262 with 17 round-trippers and a .782 OPS this season, but he is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles and two walks against Guthrie.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera homered again Wednesday against the White Sox.
Insight: Cabrera has hit six home runs and driven in 14 over his last eight games. However, Chris Davis entered play Wednesday having hit four over his last six games to maintain a lead of six homers over Cabrera.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera capped off an incredible series with a ninth inning homer off Mariano Rivera Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Insight: The homer narrowed the gap to 4-3 and the Tigers would eventually tie it two batters later on a Victor Martinez solo shot to right. Cabrera finished the series with seven hits, three homers and five RBI. If the season ended today, he'd be the obvious choice for AL MVP.
Description: Detroit catcher Alex Avila was scratched from Sunday's lineup and has been placed on the 7-day disabled list.
Insight: Avila, who took a foul ball to the mask Thursday, passed concussion tests Saturday and was expected to return to the lineup Sunday, but he's still dealing with symptoms. He's batting just .198 with nine homers and 36 RBI, a far cry from his 2011 production (.295, 19 HR, 82 RBI).
Description: Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez hasn't surrendered more than two earned runs in any of his last five starts.
Insight: Sanchez struck out eight batters and allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings Saturday against the Yankees. The right-hander has had his best major league season, going 10-7 with a 2.58 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and a 139/38 K/BB in 125 2/3 innings.
Description: Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI Saturday against the Yankees.
Insight: Hunter went 2-for-18 (.111) with three K over his previous three games, but he otherwise has performed at a high level since early July, hitting .356 with nine home runs over his last 30 games.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is a career .522 (12-for-23) with four home runs with a 1.734 OPS against Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes.
Insight: Cabrera won a great battle against Mariano Rivera to help Detroit tie Friday night's game in the ninth inning. He's now blasted 34 homers and tied with Chris Davis for the major league lead in RBIs.
Description: Tigers catcher Alex Avila flew back to Detroit to be checked for a concussion after taking a foul ball off his mask, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
Insight: Avila had a career year in 2011, hitting .295 with 19 home runs, 82 RBI and an .895 OPS, but he has been miserable since then. He's currently batting .198 with nine homers and 36 RBI. He could miss the entire weekend series.
Description: Detroit DH Victor Martinez went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI Thursday against Cleveland and is hitting .386 over his last 35 games.
Insight: Who would have though that after hitting .225 over his first 77 games this season, Martinez would be hitting 17 points higher than Prince Fielder less than two months later? That's where he is right now, batting .277 to Fielder's .260.
Description: Tigers second baseman Omar Infante (ankle) returned to the Triple-A Toledo lineup Thursday after sitting out Wednesday due to ankle soreness, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com.
Insight: Infante hasn't played for the Tigers since suffering a sprained left ankle when Colby Rasmus slid into him on July 3. He already suffered a setback at the end of July, so expect the Tigers to be extra careful with him if he has more soreness going forward on his rehab assignment.
Description: Tigers second baseman Omar Infante has suffered a setback in his recovery from a sprained ankle. SOURCE: Detroit Free Press
Insight: Infante, who had been rehabbing with Triple-A Toledo, wasn't in the lineup Wednesday because of ankle soreness. The Tigers would obviously rather have Infante in the lineup but the truth is, they've been just fine without him. Since the All-Star break, they've won 15 out of 18 including 11 straight and are now six games clear of Cleveland in the AL Central. Ramon Santiago will continue to play second base in Infante's absence.
Description: Prince Fielder's two-run double in the 14th inning broke a 4-4 tie and lifted the Tigers to their 67th win of the season.
Insight: It was one of two hits on the night for Fielder, who also struck out three times. Aside from his heroics Wednesday night, the All-Star first baseman hasn't had a very good second half. His average since the break is just .214 in 70 at bats.
Description: The Tigers released righthander Jose Valverde on Wednesday.
Insight: It was bound to happen. Valverde lost his closer's job back in June and has been useless in 11 appearances for Triple-A Toledo since then (4.09 ERA in 11 innings). Even if Valverde latches on somewhere else, it's unlikely he'd be able to provide any meaningful fantasy contributions.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander didn't walk a batter for the first time all season Tuesday against the Indians.
Insight: In what was his longest start since June 29, Verlander went eight innings and allowed four hits and one run while striking out seven in a 5-1 win. The right-hander walked five batters his last time out and has a 3.32 BB/9 this season, up from 2.27 last year and 2.04 in 2011.
Description: Detroit DH Victor Martinez is 9-for-19 (.474) against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson with a 1.215 OPS.
Insight: Martinez has finally found his swing after missing all of 2012 due to injury. He batted .390 in July with a 1.010 OPS and has continue to rip line drives in August (.357). He's a must start on Tuesday.
Description: Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez didn't get the win but he still put together a nice stat line Monday against Cleveland.
Insight: Sanchez allowed two runs and four hits over 7 2/3 innings, walking two with 11 strikeouts. The righthander has been money since the break. In four post All-Star starts, he's 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is back in the lineup for Monday's game with Cleveland.
Insight: Cabrera is 7-for-14 with three home runs and a 1.705 OPS versus Clevland starter Corey Kluber. The team was very conservative with their superstar's injury and this is his first start since last Tuesday.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who said he felt better by the end of Saturday but only pinch hit on Sunday, has a great matchup if he returns for Monday night's game.
Insight: Cabrera is 7-for-14 with three home runs and a 1.705 OPS versus Clevland starter Corey Kluber. The team is being very conservative with their superstar. Jose Iglesias will make the start at third base if Cabrera doesn't, but no player can fill the void when the big man is out of the lineup (.359, 32 HR, 99 RBI 1.121 OPS).
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera said he felt better by the end of Saturday but he's not in Sunday's starting lineup, according to mlb.com.
Insight: The team is being very conservative with their superstar, trying to keep him off the disabled list, but not wanting the injury to be re-aggravated. Newly-acquired Jose Iglesias will make the start at third base, but no player can fill the void when Cabrera (.359, 32 HR, 99 RBI 1.121 OPS) is out of the lineup.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera said he felt better by the end of Saturday and is hopeful that he can go on Sunday, according to Detroit beat reporter Jason Beck.
Insight: The team is being very conservative with their superstar, trying to keep him off the disabled list, but not wanting the injury to be re-aggravated. Newly-acquired Jose Iglesias will likely make the start at third base, but no player can fill the void when Cabrera (.359, 32 HR, 99 RBI 1.121 OPS) is out of the lineup.
Description: Another great night for Tigers starter Max Scherzer, who earned his 16th win of the season Saturday against the White Sox.
Insight: Scherzer is now 16-1 after yielding just three hits in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out six to bring his season total to 170. The AL Cy Young award is still his to lose, but it doesn't look like he has any intention of letting it go.
Description: The Tigers will be without third baseman Miguel Cabrera once again. He'll miss Saturday's matchup with John Danks and the Chicago White Sox.
Insight: He's still battling a strained abdomen. Newly-acquired Jose Iglesias will likely make the start at third base, but no player can fill the void when Cabrera (.359, 32 HR, 99 RBI 1.121 OPS) is out of the lineup. Could a trip to the disabled list (gulp) be around the corner?
Description: Tigers catcher Alex Avila is not in Friday night's starting lineup.
Insight: Avila had a career year in 2011, hitting .295 with 19 home runs, 82 RBI and an .895 OPS, but he has been miserable since then. He's currently on a six-game hitting streak, though his average is still hovering around .200.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera is expected to return from a strained abdomen Friday against the White Sox.
Insight: Cabrera has missed five of the team's last eight games including Wednesday's win against the Nationals. He finished the month of July with a .288 average, his lowest of the season. Still, his season numbers are impressive - .359, 32 HR, 99 RBI, 1.121 OPS.
Description: Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter corked four hits Wednesday in a blowout win against the Nationals.
Insight: Three of the four hits went for extra bases (two doubles and a homer). He's 7-for-13 with four RBI in his last three games. Hunter is tied with Tampa Bay's James Loney for fifth in the AL in batting average (.316).
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was not in the lineup Wednesday afternoon against the Nationals after tweaking his abdomen Tuesday.
Insight: Cabrera's injury is related to the sore left hip flexor that kept Cabrera out of a few games last week. "The muscles of the abdomen operate as hip flexors," Detroit's trainer Kevin Rand said. "This is what bothered him. It’s technically in the abdominal complex. It’s an abdominal strain, but it functions as a hip flexor."
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter has had a tough time hitting against Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez.
Insight: Hunter is 5-for-25 (.200) with six strikeouts against Gonzalez. However, the Tigers right fielder is also scorching hot, hitting .367 with six homers, 19 RBI and a 1.038 OPS in his last 21 games.
Description: Boston infielder Jose Iglesias has been traded to the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team trade in which the Red Sox received Jake Peavy and the White Sox received Avisail Garcia.
Insight: It's a great move for Boston to parlay Iglesias' three-month hot streak and strong defensive reputation plus three low-level prospects into Peavy. Iglesias is hitting .330 this season, but that has been boosted by a .376 BABIP even though his line-drive rate is just 18.4 percent. He gives Detroit insurance for Jhonny Peralta's pending suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis.
Description: Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings in a win over Washington Tuesday.
Insight: Sanchez only struck out one batter but still has a 9.73 K/9 this season, a career best. Sanchez allows more line drives than we'd prefer -- his LD rate is about 26 percent -- but he balances that out by keeping the ball in the park.
Description: New Tigers reliever Jose Veras isn't expected to take the closer job from Joaquin Benoit.
Insight: The Astros dealt Veras, who has recorded a 2.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 19 saves this season, to the Tigers Monday. Benoit has been tremendous, saving all 10 of his chances and posting a 1.50 ERA, so he'll hold onto the role for now.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera was ejected from Sunday's game.
Insight: When fantasy owners saw that Cabrera only had one at-bat, they likely assumed he had aggravated the hip flexor injury that caused him to miss four games this week. He went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI Saturday in his first game back in the lineup.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera whacked a home run in his return to the lineup Saturday against Philadelphia.
Insight: He hit one in his very first at bat and also added a single in the second inning. Jim Leyland took Cabrera (.361, 32 HR, 99 RBI) out in the fifth inning because the Tigers already had a 10-0 lead. Ramon Santiago is now playing third base.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter (Achilles) has been scratched from the starting lineup Friday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Insight: Hunter, who is hitting .366 with six homers and a 1.058 OPS over his last 19 games, left Thursday's game with minor soreness in his Achilles that he attributed to wearing some tight dress shoes. He was initially in the lineup Friday, but Andy Dirks will take his place as the No. 2 hitter.
Description: Detroit second baseman Omar Infante (ankle) exited Thursday's rehab game after suffering a setback in his rehab, according to MLive.com. "I’m feeling a lot of pain in my ankle right now," Infante said. "Real bad. Now when I’m walking, I feel pain."
Insight: Infante was hoping to return to the Tigers Friday. He suffered an ankle sprain when Colby Rasmus slid into him to break up a double play earlier this month. The second baseman is hitting .309 with six homers this season.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is questionable for Friday's game after missing the last three due to a sore hip flexor, but he has added incentive to return to the lineup with Cole Hamels on the hill for the Phillies.
Insight: In eight at-bats against Hamels, Cabrera has six hits, including two doubles and a triple. He also has walked four times against the left-hander without striking out.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander took another punch on the chin Thursday against the White Sox, allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs over six innings.
Insight: Verlander, who has dealt with reduced fastball velocity all year, has allowed at least eight hits in eight different starts this season. He did that just seven times all of last year and five times in 2011. The right-hander is 10-8 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter left Thursday's game with a sore left Achilles, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com, but he expects to play Friday.
Insight: Hunter attributed the soreness to some tight dress shoes he had to wear. The outfielder came into Thursday's game hitting .372 with a 1.048 OPS over his last 18 games. If he isn't back Friday, he'll certainly return Saturday.
Description: Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he hopes third baseman Miguel Cabrera (hip) will return to the lineup Friday but added that he isn't going to do anything stupid, according to Chris Iott of MLive.com.
Insight: Cabrera has missed three straight games with a sore hip flexor. The team likely will wait as long as possible before deciding to place him on the DL, so he's day-to-day for now.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter is 6-for-13 (.462) with a 1.192 OPS against White Sox starter Jake Peavy.
Insight: Hunter is 5-for-14 in the first three games of the series with a pair of homers. He's enjoyed batting in front of Miguel Cabrera this season and his numbers show it - .309, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 60 runs.
Description: Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson is 10-for-25 (.400) versus White Sox starter John Danks with a pair of home runs and a 1.203 OPS.
Insight: Jackson is batting .270 with five homers, 24 RBI and 58 runs scored. With Miguel Cabrera hurting there is more pressure on the rest of the lineup to perform and Jackson should get them going in this favorable matchup.
Description: Tigers starter Doug Fister gave up six earned runs in three of his last five starts before the All-Star break, but he had his second straight quality start Sunday against the Royals in his first start of the second half.
Insight: Fister allowed six hits and one run over six innings to improve to 8-5. He has a 3.90 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP this season, but his FIP is 3.41, nearly identical to last year's FIP of 3.42. He has been unlucky with a .318 BABIP and should eventually get his ERA down to the mid-threes.
Description: Today is a good day to own Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Insight: Every day is a good day to have Cabrera on your fantasy team, but today especially. The reigning MVP is hitting .438 lifetime against Royals ace James Shields. Miggy (.360, 30 HR, 95 RBI) is on pace to set career highs in every offensive category this season.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is a .345 with three homers versus Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.
Insight: That's nothing special for him, but most players would love to have those statistics. It's another MVP-type season for Miggy - (.362, 30 HR, 95 RBI), though he's hitless in his last two games which he's only done one other time this season.
Description: Detroit second baseman Omar Infante (ankle) will be reevaluated Saturday, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
Insight: Infante suffered an ankle sprain when Colby Rasmus slid into him to break up a double play earlier this month. The second baseman will need a rehab assignment before returning from the disabled list.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander (quad) is expected to make his next start Saturday against the Royals. A tight right quad knocked Verlander out of his final start before the All-Star break following seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the Rangers.
Insight: Verlander had an up-and-down first half, going 10-6 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. The right-hander's fastball velocity is down 1.1 mph from last year and his BB/9 is up 0.94, but he also has been unlucky, posting a career-high .322 BABIP.
Description: Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder is a career .600 hitter (6-for-10) with three home runs and a 2.267 OPS versus Royals right-hander Ervin Santana.
Insight: Fielder stumbled to the break, but is still batting .267 with 16 HR and 69 RBI. History shows that he's a better second-half hitter and this favorable matchup should get his second half off to a great start.
Description: Jeremy Bonderman is coming back to Detroit.
Insight: Well, not exactly. The Tigers signed Bonderman to a minor league deal on Sunday. He could make it back to the big leagues this season but even if he does, his role would be limited. Detroit would likely use Bonderman as a long reliever, possibly allowing him to make an occasional spot start. For now, he'll start off with Triple-A Toledo and try to work his way up.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander left Sunday's game after seven scoreless innings due to a tight right quad muscle, Detroit announced via Twitter.
Insight: Mitch Moreland broke up Verlander's no-hitter with a two-out double in the seventh. The right-hander's velocity is still down and he has walked 3.21 batters per nine innings, up 0.94 from last year. He'll take a 3.50 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP into the All-Star break.
Description: Tigers starter Rick Porcello's suspension for hitting Ben Zobrist in June has been reduced from six to five games.
Insight: Porcello has a career-best K/9 of 7.25 and a career-low 1.72 BB/9, but his ERA is 4.80 since he has stranded just 65.4 percent of his baserunners. He'll return to the rotation after the All-Star break.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera might have a tough day at the plate Thursday against the White Sox.
Insight: Surprisingly, Miggy has struggled in his career against Chicago ace Chris Sale (1-for-11, three strikeouts). Of course, you're not going to sit Cabrera (.366, 29 HR, 93 RBI) if you have him on your fantasy team. We're just saying Thursday might not be his biggest game of the season.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander had given up just one run going into the eighth inning Tuesday against the White Sox, but he allowed four more in the frame without getting an out.
Insight: Verlander allowed 12 hits in the game and has given up 123 in 119 innings this season. The right-hander's BB/9 is also up 0.91 from 2012. Verlander only allowed 174 total hits in 251 innings during his Cy Young and MVP season on 2011.
Description: Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday that left-hander Drew Smyly will not be used as a starter this season, according to Tom Gage of the Detroit News.
Insight: "I'm not stretching him out," Leyland said. "He can stretch out during the winter, on his bed." Smyly (4-0) has made an impact as a long reliever this season, striking out 55 batters and posting a 2.04 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 53 innings over 33 appearances.
Description: Detroit second baseman Omar Infante (ankle) will spend some time on the disabled list due to a sprained left ankle.
Insight: Infante suffered shin and ankle injuries when Colby Rasmus slid into him to break up a double play last Wednesday. The second baseman's shin contusion has cleared up, but his ankle injury has persisted. Detroit has placed him on the DL retroactive to July 4.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to nine games on Sunday and faces a favorable matchup in left-hander Scott Kazmir.
Insight: Martinez is batting .378 during the streak to raise his average from .231 to .242. He's 8-for-16 with a home run against Kazmir. After a year on the sidelines, we're finally starting to see the real hitter.
Description: Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is 7-for-16 (.438) with two doubles and two homers versus Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir.
Insight: Peralta is batting just .212 over the past 13 games after producing huge numbers for the first two and a half months of the season. His overall statistics are still good (.306, 7 HR, 41 RBI), but we've seen a significant drop in power production over the past two weeks which may negate this favorable matchup.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is hitting .417 in his career against Indians starter Corey Kluber.
Insight: He's already hitting .360 so that's actually not that big a difference. It's a coin flip for AL MVP right now. Some might go with Chris Davis because he has more homers (33 to 27) but Cabrera has more RBI than Davis (88 to 85) and is way ahead in batting average.
Description: Rick Porcello went seven shutout innings on Friday night, yielding five hits, to pick up the victory, his fifth.
Insight: Porcello is the definition of inconsistent. Over his last six games he's yielded one run or less three times and six runs or more twice. The seven scoreless innings brings his ERA down to 4.82.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera is back in the lineup for Friday's game against Cleveland after missing Thursday's game with tightness in his lower back.
Insight: Cabrera was able to play his 108th straight game Wednesday after leaving the previous game with lower back tightness, but he missed Thursday's game against the Blue Jays. He's having another MVP-type season (.364, 26 Hr, 85 RBI, 1.124 OPS).
Description: Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is just 1-for-15 (.067) with six strikeouts against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson.
Insight: Peralta is batting just .182 over the past 12 games after producing huge numbers for the first two and a half months of the season. His overall statistics are still good (.307, 7 HR, 38 RBI), but we've seen a significant drop in production over the past two weeks and you must avoid this matchup.
Description: Detroit second baseman Omar Infante is questionable for Friday's game against Cleveland due to a shin contusion.
Insight: Colby Rasmus slid into Infante to break up a double play Wednesday night. X-rays came back negative, and Infante is day-to-day. Infante is a low-end fantasy option, batting .309 with six homers, 27 RBI and 38 runs scored.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera is questionable for Friday's game against Cleveland with tightness in his lower back.
Insight: Cabrera was able to play his 108th straight game Wednesday after leaving the previous game with lower back tightness, but he missed Thursday's game against the Blue Jays. He's having another MVP-type season (.364, 26 Hr, 85 RBI, 1.124 OPS).
Description: Detroit starter Max Scherzer allowed seven hits but just two runs over 6 1/3 innings Wednesday against the Blue Jays.
Insight: Scherzer struck out eight and walked one to improve to 13-0 with a 3.09 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. He has a 10.72 K/9 in 116 1/3 innings this season and is the frontrunner to start the All-Star game for the American League.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera (back) is in the lineup Wednesday, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.
Insight: Cabrera left Tuesday's game with tightness in his lower back and a sore hip, but he'll play his 108th straight game Wednesday night. He's starting at third base, which is evidence that he feels fine.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera left Tuesday's game after three at-bats with a sore hip and tightness in his lower back. He's is questionable for Wednesday's game against Toronto.
Insight: The reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner homered and drove in three, but could be in line for a game or two off. Cabrera is leading the league in almost every major offensive category - batting average (.368), runs (65), hits (119), walks (50), RBI (85), on base percentage (.458), total bases (219) and OPS (1.136), except home runs. Fantasy owners and the Tigers hope this is a minor problem.
Description: Torii Hunter had a good night Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
Insight: The Tigers right fielder swatted four singles in five at bats. He even found time to steal a base, the first time he's done that since May 4th against Houston. The 37-year-old is hitting over .300 for the second year in a row.
Description: Anibal Sanchez is slated to return to the Tigers' rotation Saturday against Cleveland. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Sanchez was struck in the calf by a line drive Monday in a rehab start but the injury wasn't significant enough to push back his return date. His last start in the major leagues came on June 15th against the Twins. He's been out with shoulder soreness.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter went 1-for-17 (.058) over his last four games and is hitless in eight career at-bats versus Blue Jays starter Chien-Ming Wang.
Insight: If manager Jim Leyland doesn't sit him for Tuesday's game, make sure you do. After a huge April (.370, 18 runs scored, .911 OPS) Hunter has put up pedestrian numbers considering he bats in fromt of the best hitter on the planet, Miguel Cabrera.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera watched his 15-game hitting streak come to an end on Monday.
Insight: The reigning AL MVP was 0-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts. The slumping Tigers have now lost six out of seven and have fallen a half game behind Cleveland in the division. Despite his team's struggles, Cabrera is leading the league in almost every major offensive category including batting average (.369), RBI (82) and on base percentage (.456).
Description: Detroit righthander Anibal Sanchez was struck on the leg by a line drive Monday in a rehab start for Single-A Lakeland. SOURCE: James Chipman, Fox Sports
Insight: He had to come out of the game. Sanchez (6-5, 2.76 ERA) was expected to return to the Tigers' rotation this weekend but obviously this injury will set him back a bit. He's a long shot to return before the All-Star break.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander said on ESPN Radio Monday that he thinks he has identified a problem with his mechanics.
Insight: Verlander is 8-5 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP this season, numbers that are way below expectations. He has experienced a one-mph drop in his velocity, walked 1.07 more batters per nine innings and allowed 2.01 more hits per nine innings than last season. We'll watch him closely on July 4 versus Toronto.
Description: Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta doesn't have strong numbers against R.A. Dickey of the Blue Jays.
Insight: Peralta has gone just 2-for-12 with three K against Dickey. The shortstop cooled off at the end of June, going 6-for-31 (.194) over his last nine games, and is a poor option Monday with Dickey on the hill.
Description: Max Scherzer is going where few pitchers have gone before. The Tigers righthander ran his record to a perfect 12-0 Friday with a win over Tampa Bay.
Insight: The last pitcher to start a year with 12 straight wins was Roger Clemens for the Red Sox in 1986. Clemens won the American League MVP that season. At this rate, Scherzer (3.10 ERA) has a chance to do the same.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera proved once again why he's the best hitter in baseball Friday in a win over the Rays.
Insight: The reigning AL MVP homered twice as part of a 4-for-4 performance. He's on pace for 168 RBI, which would be the most we've seen in the major leagues since Jimmie Foxx drove in 175 runs for the Red Sox in 1938. It's no wonder he leads all players in All-Star voting.
Description: Tigers reliever Jose Valverde has accepted his demotion to Triple-A Toledo. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Valverde was designated for assignment about a week ago. Valverde has been a disaster this season, collecting a 5.59 ERA in 20 big league appearances. The Tigers will keep him in the pipeline but he won't be closing games for them anytime soon.
Description: Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez (shoulder strain) will throw a minor league rehab start next week, meaning Jose Alvarez will start Monday against the Blue Jays.
Insight: Sanchez threw a bullpen session Thursday, and evidently the team thinks he needs a rehab start before he comes off the DL. According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Sanchez said he'll throw 60 pitches with High-A Lakeland in a rehab start that likely will come Monday.
Description: Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is having a great season and his numbers against Jered Weaver suggest he'll have a nice day Thursday afternoon.
Insight: Peralta is 9-for-25 (.360) with five doubles, one homer and five RBI against the Angels hurler. He's hitting .320 with seven homers, 34 RBI and an .855 OPS this season and should be in all lineups Thursday.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder is 5-for-9 with a home run against Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson.
Insight: Fielder is batting a stunning .337 in his lefty-lefty matchups versus just .250 against right-handers. Despite just three hits in his last 25 at-bats, and no home runs, he should be in all fantasy lineups on Tuesday.
Description: Victor Martinez gave the Tigers all the offense they would need by launching a grand slam in the first inning Saturday against the Red Sox.
Insight: The blast was V-Mart's third career grand slam. His first two grand slams were against the Indians, his former team. Martinez (.231, 6 HR, 38 RBI) also played for the Red Sox so now he has grand slams against both of his former teams. He also had an RBI double in the fifth inning.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera reached base in all five plate appearances Friday against Boston.
Insight: Cabrera went 4-for-4 with a homer, three RBI and a walk. With 20 home runs, 74 RBI and a .368 batting average, the third baseman has a very realistic chance at becoming the first player in major league history with back-to-back Triple Crowns.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is a career .625 hitter (5-for-8) against Boston starter Jon Lester with a pair of extra base hits and a 1.917 OPS.
Insight: Martinez is still not back to his 2011 form when he batted .330 in his first year with the Tigers. Add in that he's batting just .146 over the past two weeks and even this favorable matchup might not be enough to get him going.
Description: Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to name a permanent closer, but did indicate that he's leaning toward Joaquin Benoit, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
Insight: "I'm not naming anybody closer," Leyland said Thursday. "All I'm saying if Benoit was available right now, I would try to close with him." Benoit will be available to pitch Thursday, so he's expected to get the save chance if one arises against Boston. Benoit has a 1.80 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and a 35/9 K/BB, compared to a 5.59 ERA for Jose Valverde. Valverde allowed five hits and four earned runs in the ninth inning Wednesday with Detroit already down 9-3. Fantasy owners should grab Benoit if he's available.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez is a career .476 hitter (10-for-21) against Boston starter John Lackey.
Insight: The bad news is that nine of the 10 hits have been singles and he's yet to manage an RBI against Lackey. Still, with Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hitting in front of him, a single might be enough to do damage.
Description: Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez has been moved to the disabled list.
Insight: He's been diagnosed with a strained shoulder. Sanchez (6-5, 2.76 ERA) missed a start earlier in the month and his return on Saturday lasted only 72 pitches so fantasy owners probably saw this one coming. Hopefully you already snagged a replacement off the waiver wire. If not, you might want to look at lefthander Jose Alvarez (1-0, 1.50). The Tigers have called him up to replace Sanchez in the starting rotation.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder has taken Twins starter P.J. Walter deep twice and gone 5-for-11 with three walks and zero strikeouts against him.
Insight: Three straight multi-hit games have Fielder's average up to .292 and his OPS to .897. He hasn't homered since going deep in three straight games from June 1-4, but Sunday could be the day he ends the drought.
Description: Detroit left fielder Andy Dirks (knee) is questionable for Saturday's game against Minnesota.
Insight: Dirks is dealing with knee soreness and now with Austin Jackson back from the disabled list isn't going to get as much playing time and certainly won't leadoff anymore. His fantasy value has taken a big hit.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder is just a .071 hitter (1-for-14) against Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond.
Insight: Fielder is actually hitting lefties at a much higher rate then right-handers (.362/.256) which is opposite of his career numbers (267/.296). Maybe he can change his struggles against Diamond too.
Description: Detroit closer Jose Valverde blew his third save Wednesday versus Kansas City.
Insight: Valverde (0-1, 4.15 ERA) entered the game with a runner on first and a two-run lead. Papa Grande got the first two outs before giving up a long home run to Lorenzo Cain. The Tigers eventually lost 3-2 in extra innings. This is probably why the Tigers were reluctant to re-sign Valverde this past offseason.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander allowed just three hits and walked two over seven scoreless innings Wednesday at Kansas City, but Jose Valverde gave up a game-tying two-run homer to Lorenzo Cain in the ninth inning.
Insight: Verlander had won four straight starts, but this was actually his best outing since May 5. Batters have made solid contact against Verlander this season -- the right-hander has a career-worst 24.9 percent line-drive rate. The Royals actually hit five line drives Wednesday, but all of them were outs. Still, Verlander only has given up five home runs in 87 innings and has a 10.45 K/9.
Description: Detroit left fielder Andy Dirks (knee) is not expected to return to the lineup until Saturday, according to MLive.com.
Insight: Dirks is dealing with knee soreness. He didn't play for Wednesday's day game and won't play Friday against left-hander Scott Diamond. The Tigers have Thursday off. "He's going to get three days off, and that's a good thing," Leyland said. "I think his knees are a little sore. He will have today off, obviously tomorrow off -- we're all off -- and then the first pitcher in Minnesota's a left-hander, so that should freshen him up good. That works out good."
Description: Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia will bat leadoff for the first time this season. He's mostly batted eighth or ninth.
Insight: Garcia gets a shot after batting .295 with a pair of homers and 10 RBI in 23 games. It's only a short-term role at best as Austin Jackson is out on a rehab assignment and could be back by the weekend.
Description: Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson is hoping to return to the Tigers lineup on Friday.
Insight: Jackson has been on the disabled list since May 12 due to a strained left hamstring. He was a DH on Monday in his first rehab start and is expected to play in the outfield on Tuesday. Getting Jackson will only make the top of the Tigers lineup that much stronger.
Description: Detroit first base prospect Jordan Lennerton is tearing up the International League, batting .338 with 11 homers, 34 RBI and a .971 OPS.
Insight: It doesn't really matter how good Lennerton is, he's not going to be the Tigers' starting first baseman for a long time with Prince Fielder around. But keep him in mind for a DH role or if he's involved in a deal at the trade deadline.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder has multiple hits in three of his last four games and now faces Jeremy Guthrie, who he's hit for a .556 batting average (5-for-9).
Insight: Miguel Cabrera gets all the hype, and rightfully so, but Fielder is having a solid season too. He's batting .289 with 12 HR, 51 RBI and a .902 OPS. With Fielder's protection, Victor Martinez, starting to find his stroke, the first baseman might start seeing better pitches.
Description: Jose Alvarez allowed one run on three hits and struck out seven over six innings Sunday against the Indians to win his MLB debut. He was immediately sent back to Triple-A Toledo, however.
Insight: The 24-year-old has a 2.42 ERA and a 76/15 K/BB in 74 1/3 innings with Triple-A Toledo this season. He was making a spot start in place of Anibal Sanchez, who was scratched due to stiffness in his right shoulder. Sanchez is expected to be ready for his next start, but fantasy owners should keep Alvarez in mind if Sanchez has to go on the DL at some point.
Description: Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson is hoping to return to the lineup next weekend against Minnesota. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Jackson has been battling a strained left hamstring. He'll be evaluated on Sunday and if everything checks out, Jackson will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo sometime in the next few days.
Description: Tigers DH Victor Martinez drilled a two-run homer Thursday in a win over Tampa Bay.
Insight: Thursday was Martinez's first multi-hit game since May 27th. Despite his struggles (.231 AVG, .610 OPS), the slugger is still on pace for 81 RBI. Only four catcher-eligible players did that in 2012 (Buster Posey, Miguel Montero, Joe Mauer and Matt Wieters).
Description: Detroit righthander Max Scherzer improved to 8-0 Thursday with a win over Tampa Bay.
Insight: He limited the Rays to just one run on four hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out nine. The victory moves Scherzer (3.24 ERA) into a four-way tie for the most wins in the AL. Justin Masterson, Clay Buchholz and Matt Moore also have eight wins.
Description: Detroit DH Victor Martinez should be in store for a solid fantasy day Thursday against Roberto Hernandez.
Insight: Martinez carries a .417 lifetime average versus the Rays righthander. The Tigers slugger hasn't had a great season (.226, 3 HR, 26 RBI) but we're confident he'll be able to produce on Thursday.
Description: Tigers starter Doug Fister took a shutout into the ninth inning Wednesday against the Rays but he gave up three runs in the inning while getting just one out.
Insight: Detroit was blanked by Alex Cobb and Tampa Bay's bullpen on the other side, so Fister likely wouldn't have recorded a win anyway. The right-hander threw seven shutout innings his last time out so he was going on 15 consecutive scoreless frames prior to the ninth-inning meltdown. Fister has a 3.27 ERA and has walked just 12 batters in 77 innings this season.
Description: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter is a stunning 6-for-9 with a 1.478 OPS against Tampa Bay youngster Alex Cobb.
Insight: Hunter has the best lineup spot in baseball, hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and it's paid off this season as he's batting .310 with 32 runs scored. We would like to see a return of the power of past seasons - he has just two homers to date but has averaged 21 per season over the past five years.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson (hamstring) has resumed taking batting practice and shagging flyballs in center field, but he's not ready to start a minor league rehab assignment, according to MLB.com.
Insight: Jackson still needs to make more progress running before he goes on a rehab assignment. The team's trainer said that the plan is for Jackson to start running the bases again this week.
Description: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter is not in the starting lineup Thursday due to a swollen left elbow, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. He was hit by a pitch Wednesday.
Insight: Hunter has very limited movement in his elbow and likely will have a painful bruise for the next few days. The outfielder already was expected to miss games on Friday and Saturday due to his two sons' high school graduation, so he'll have a few days for the swelling to go down.
Description: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter left Wednesday's game after being hit by a pitch on the elbow, but his X-rays came back negative, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com.
Insight: Hunter has very limited movement in his elbow and likely will have a painful bruise for the next few days. The outfielder is already expected to miss games on Friday and Saturday due to his two sons' high school graduation.
Description: Tigers manager Jim Leyland is hopeful that outfielder Austin Jackson (hamstring) can start his rehab assignment by the end of the weekend, according to MLB.com.
Insight: "I'm hoping, possibly, that sometime on this trip, he can go out and get some at-bats," Leyland said, "but I can't swear to that." Jackson has yet to be cleared for full baseball activity, so it might be a long shot that he'll start a rehab assignment over the next few days.
Description: Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-13 with a pair of home runs and a 1.400 OPS against Pittsburgh right-hander Jeanmar Gomez.
Insight: Not that you needed any extra incentive to start Cabrera (.377, 14 HR, 57 RBI). Right now Miggy is the best player in baseball and it isn't even that close even after an 0-for-4 day with three strikeouts in the first game of the series with the Pirates.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder is 3-for-19 (.158) with no homers and eight strikeouts versus Pirates starter Francisco Lirianao.
Insight: Fielder's batting average (.270) is lower than it was last season, but he's still hit nine homers and knocked in 42 runs as the top of the Detroit order has given him plenty of opportunities. This is a poor matchup, however, so don't expect a lot of production on Monday.
Description: Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez is a career .458 hitter (11-for-24) with a 1.292 OPS against Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Insight: Martinez is not back to his old .300-hitting form after missing an entire season due to an ACL injury. His May (.230) is only slightly improved from his April (.221). Expect more walks for Prince Fielder until Martinez starts hitting, but this matchup might help.
Description: Tigers starter Max Scherzer allowed just three hits and one run in six innings Sunday against Minnesota to extend his record to 7-0.
Insight: Although Scherzer is pitching very well, fantasy owners should be starting almost every pitcher who faces the Twins. They have lost 11 of their last 12 and averaged just 2.66 runs per game over that span. We recommend a flier with Milwaukee's Wily Peralta on Memorial Day.
Description: Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez came within two outs of his second no-hitter Friday night against the Twins. He allowed a line-drive single to center to Joe Mauer and settled for a one-hit shutout.
Insight: Sanchez walked three and struck out 12. He was coming off his worst start of the season, a nine-hit, six-run drubbing at Texas. The right-hander has been unreal this season, recording an 11.19 K/9, a 2.38 ERA and a 1.75 FIP.
Description: They call him Prince Fielder: not the prince of hitting Scott Diamond. The Tigers first baseman is batting just .091 against the Twins lefthander.
Insight: Fielder's batting average (.276) is lower than it was last season but he's on pace for more home runs and RBI. With that said, we don't expect him to do much damage against Diamond on Thursday night.
Description: Tigers starter Max Scherzer allowed just two hits and one run in eight innings Tuesday against the Indians. He walked one and fanned seven to improve to 6-0.
Insight: Scherzer has been brilliant this season, posting a 75/13 K/BB in 62 1/3 innings, but he has had terrible luck with runners on base. Prior to his start Tuesday, he had allowed just a 16.2 percent line-drive rate with men on base but given up a BABIP of .389 in those situations. As a result, his strand rate is just 62.8 percent and his ERA 3.61, but his FIP is 2.34.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, off three home run Sunday night against Texas, should continue on his roll against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber. He's a .444 hitter against the Indians' right-hander.
Insight: Cabrera is coming off a Triple Crown season and playing even better than last season. He's the best hitter in the game (.387, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 34 runs, 1.116 OPS) and a fantasy stud, not that anyone had to remind you.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera showed off his considerable talents on Sunday night, going 4-for-4 with three home runs.
Insight: What more can you say about Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera? He's coming off a Triple Crown season and playing even better than last season. He's the best hitter in the game (.387, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 34 runs, 1.116 OPS) and a fantasy stud.
Description: Tigers top prospect Nick Castellanos (OF) is batting .256 with 13 doubles, four homers, 20 RBI and a 36/13 K/BB in 41 games with Triple-A Toledo.
Insight: Castellanos hit .320 with 32 doubles, 10 homers and an 118/36 K/BB across two levels in 2012 and is ranked as the No. 21 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com. Andy Dirks is scuffling in left field and center fielder Austin Jackson is on the DL, but Castellanos' numbers don't warrant a callup.
Description: After hitting .361 over the first 27 games of the season, Torii Hunter predictably has hit a slump. He's batting .200 (7-for-35) over his last eight games. However, fantasy owners should keep him in the lineup, even with nasty Yu Darvish on the hill Thursday.
Insight: Hunter has become a hard groundball hitter over the last two seasons -- he had a groundball rate of 52 percent and hit .327 on grounders last year, and has a groundball rate of 55.8 percent and is hitting .333 on grounders in 2013 -- which has enabled him to hit for a BABIP in the .380s. However, his BABIP over the first 27 games of the season was well above .400, and it wasn't going to stay there forever. He has gone 6-for-18 (.333) with one homer and five RBI against Darvish, so he might be able to jump-start his bat Thursday.
Description: Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia hit a three-run homer Wednesday against Houston.
Insight: Garcia was just recalled when Austin Jackson was placed on the DL. The 21-year-old started in right field in the playoffs last year and went 6-for-23 with four RBI. He's ranked as the Tigers' No. 3 prospect on MLB.com.
Description: Detroit minor league starting pitcher Jose Alvarez has pitched very well in his first eight starts for Triple-A Toledo, going 3-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 1.00 WHIP and 48 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched. He has yielded two or less earned runs in his last seven outings.
Insight: If No. 5 starter Rick Porcello continues to struggle, the Tigers have an option in the minor leagues ready to go. Detroit also has Drew Smyly pitching well out of the bullpen, so barring multiple injuries, Alvarez might not get a call up until September.
Description: Tigers starter Doug Fister beat the Astros Tuesday with seven innings of two-run ball to improve to 5-1.
Insight: With Fister, you know you're going to get an ERA south of 3.50 and a WHIP around 1.15, and the Tigers' offense should be able to get him plenty of wins this season. It's just a matter of how many innings he can throw without getting hurt.
Description: Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is not in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against Houston. No injury, just a rest day.
Insight: Peralta is batting .326, well above his career average of .266 and last season's .239 effort. He's only one year removed from hitting .299 with 21 homers and 86 RBI and is still a solid mixed league shortstop while he's hot.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
Insight: Jackson started the season and despite a recent slump was still batting .272 with 33 runs scored and five stolen bases. Detroit recalled outfielder Avisail Garcia from Triple-A Toledo where he was batting .432 in eight games.
Description: Get Tigers second baseman Omar Infante in your lineup ASAP. He's batting .467 against Nationals righthander Dan Haren.
Insight: Most of those hits have been singles but that's still a lot better than striking out. Infante (.287, 3 HR, 11 RBI) is a borderline fantasy play on most days but Thursday you can start him with confidence.
Description: Tigers left fielder Andy Dirks smashed his second home run of the season Sunday in a 9-0 victory over Houston.
Insight: Dirks finished the afternoon 4-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. A breakout star last season (.322 AVG in 88 games), Dirks has struggled to regain form in 2013 (.243, 2 HR, 7 RBI). Perhaps Sunday is a sign that Dirks is ready to get back on track.
Description: Detroit righthander Justin Verlander cruised through seven scoreless innings Sunday against Houston.
Insight: Verlander has been absolutely unstoppable lately. Over his last three starts, he's 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA. During that span, he's racked up 21 strikeouts in 21 innings. Opponents are hitting just .222 against the former AL MVP this season.
Description: Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez went deep for the first time since 2011 Saturday against Houston.
Insight: After missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL, Martinez has gotten off to an incredibly slow start in 2013 and had a .539 OPS going into Saturday's game. He went 2-for-6 with four RBI Saturday night, however.
Description: Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon was demoted to Triple-A after Wednesday's game. He threw 15 fastballs between 99 and 101 mph in his appearance Wednesday but allowed two hits, walked two and gave up two runs in 1/3 innings.
Insight: "Right now he's just not ready for this," manager Jim Leyland said, according to USA Today. "When I say that, please don't think anybody's down on him. We think he's a future closer at the major league level. But I can't get him enough work right now."
Description: Detroit catcher Alex Avila will get Wednesday afternoon off. No injury, just the typical day off after a night game.
Insight: Avila has three homers this season, but also a low .183 batting average. He was an exciting surprise in 2011 (.295, 19 HR, 82 RBI) but a disappoint to those who thought he could continue at that pace last season falling to .243, 9 HR and 48 RBI.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander, who left his start last Thursday against the Royals after seven innings due to a right thumb blister, is expected to make his regular start on Tuesday.
Insight: Verlander allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits and struck out four with one walk in seven innings, but he had just 96 pitches and could have gone one or two more innings if not for the injury. He is 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP through five starts.
Description: Tigers righthander Anibal Sanchez fanned 17 Braves in a brilliant outing Friday night at Comerica Park.
Insight: Sanchez allowed just five hits and one walk during his eight inning masterpiece. Many thought the Tigers overpaid Sanchez (3-1, 1.34 ERA) when they inked him to a five-year, $80 million deal this offseason. So far, he's been worth every penny.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander left his start Thursday against the Royals after seven innings due to cracked skin on his right thumb, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. He's day-to-day.
Insight: Verlander allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits and struck out four with one walk in seven innings, but he had just 96 pitches and could have gone one or two more innings if not for the injury. He is 2-2 with a 1.95 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP through five starts.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson came into Thursday's game with just one hit and 12 strikeouts in his last 30 at-bats (0-for-23 over his last five games), but he went 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored Thursday against the Royals.
Insight: Jackson was batting .393 with a .448 OBP and 19 runs after Detroit's April 16 game, but this slump has knocked him down to .277.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson is just 1-for-8 (.125) against Kansas City starter Wade Davis with a pair of strikeouts.
Insight: After a hot start, Jackson has hit an extended cold spell. He's hitless in his last 20 at bats to drop his average to .291 and he's struck out 10 times in the last five games. With the unfavorable matchup he should take a seat on your bench.
Description: Tigers reliever Jose Valverde will join the team Wednesday and manager Jim Leyland says he will be the team's closer immediately.
Insight: Valverde was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month amidst turmoil at the back end of Detroit's bullpen. We expected him to have to prove himself in middle relief first, but the Tigers will go back to the winning formula from last season right away. Valverde can be erratic, but the Tigers will present him with plenty of save opportunities.
Description: The Tigers have promoted RP Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo to replace injured Octavio Dotel.
Insight: The closer's job was Rondon's to lose coming into the spring and he lost it. But the right-hander threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings at Toledo with nine strikeouts and just two walks. While we don't expect him to jump back into the closer's role, if he performs well that could happen down the road.
Description: Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel has been diagnosed with elbow inflammation. SOURCE: Jason Beck, MLB.com
Insight: Dotel imploded Friday night in Anaheim (4 H, 5 ER in 2/3 of an inning) and now we might know the reason why. The 39-year-old hasn't been used in any save situations this season so fantasy owners don't need to keep tabs on him.
Description: Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez is just 3-for-17 (.176) in his career against Angels starter C.J. Wilson.
Insight: Martinez has struggled this season after missing all of 2012 due to a torn ACL. He is batting .183 with zero homers and one double, but he does have 10 walks and just seven strikeouts. That's a sign that he should get going soon, but his breakout likely won't come Sunday.
Description: Tigers starter Justin Verlander dropped to 2-2 despite striking out 12 Mariners Thursday afternoon. He gave up two runs on nine hits in seven innings, but the Tigers couldn't muster a run.
Insight: Verlander has a 29/8 K/BB and a 2.13 ERA over 25 1/3 innings, but Detroit has been blanked in his two losses this year.
Description: Detroit flame-thrower Max Scherzer tossed eight innings of one-run ball Wednesday in a victory over the Mariners.
Insight: Scherzer (1-0, 2.84 ERA) fanned 12 hitters in the game, giving him 30 for the season. That puts him in sole possession of first place in the American League and five behind Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett for the most in the majors this season.
Description: Tigers' third baseman Miguel Cabrera is a .429 hitter (9-for-21) when facing Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, but has never taken him deep.
Insight: Cabrera homered for the second time last night. He is 19-for-55 (.345) with 17 RBIs and 13 runs this season. He'll likely get his share of hits off Hernandez, but they might not produce big results.
Description: It's a rare bad matchup for Tigers' third baseman Miguel Cabrera who is just a .133 hitter (2-for-15) when facing Seattle right-hander Aaron Harang.
Insight: Cabrera is off to a hot start, but only has one homer to date. He is 16-for-50 (.320) with 13 RBIs and 12 runs this season, however, this is an unfavorable matchup. You can't take the Triple Crown winner out of the lineup, just don't expect a big day out of him.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson went 4-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs Sunday against Oakland.
Insight: Jackson has 17 runs in 12 games and is batting .386. He doesn't steal many bases for a player with his speed, but there's a lot to like when it comes to Jackson, especially if he keeps posting a 1.0 K/BB.
Description: Detroit catcher Alex Avila has only faced Oakland right-hander Bartolo Colon on five occasions, but he's posted four hits, including a pair of homers.
Insight: Avila has two homers this season, but also a low .226 batting average. He was an exciting surprise in 2011 (.295, 19 HR, 82 RBI) but a disappoint to those who thought he could continue at that pace last season falling to .243, 9 HR and 48 RBI.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder went 2-for-2 with two walks and four RBIs Thursday against the Blue Jays.
Insight: Fielder is batting .355 and has 14 RBIs in nine games. The top five hitters in Detroit's order -- Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Fielder and Victor Martinez -- are just deadly for opposing pitchers.
Description: Detroit manager Jim Leyland will continue to use Joaquin Benoit as the closer until a better candidate emerges. SOURCE: Detroit Tigers on Twitter
Insight: There's still a chance that Jose Valverde (currently in extended spring training) could take over the ninth inning role at some point this season but until we hear otherwise, it looks like the job is Benoit's to lose.
Description: Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez is not in Tuesday afternoon's lineup against the Blue Jays due to a cut on his thumb that required eight stitches, according to Tigers beat writer Jason Beck.
Insight: Too bad as he's 4-for-6 (.667) with four RBI against Toronto starter Brandon Morrow. After a full year of watching from the sidelines due to injury, Martinez has been slow to get back into the swing of things (.143). He's listed as day-to-day.
Description: Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta is hitless in 10 career at-bats versus Blue Jays hurler Brandon Morrow.
Insight: In 2011 Peralta was a viable fantasy shortstop because of his home run power (.299, 21 HR, 86 RBI), but last season he regressed in most categories. We are closely watching to see which guy shows up this year before making a decision on whether to add him to a roster.
Description: Although a small sample size, Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez is 4-for-6 (.667) with four RBI against Toronto starter Brandon Morrow.
Insight: Martinez is just 3-for-21 (.143) with one RBI in six games. After a full year watching from the sidelines due to injury, he's been slow to get back into the swing of things, so now may not be the time to jump on this matchup.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson is 5-for-22 (.227) with 11 strikeouts and zero walks against Yankees starter CC Sabathia.
Insight: Jackson has set the table well for Detroit's big boppers this season, collecting nine hits and walking three times. He's hitting .429 and has scored seven runs in five games, but don't be surprised if Sabathia slows him down Sunday.
Description: Tigers manager Jim Leyland says the he would like Joaquin Benoit to emerge as the closer due to his ability to get out both right-handed and left-handed batters. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, FOXSports.com
Insight: The Tigers signed Jose Valverde to a minor league contract this week after Phil Coke blew a save. If you're looking to make a speculative add for short-term saves, Benoit is the guy.
Description: Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter picked up three hits and an RBI in five at-bats Saturday against the Yankees.
Insight: Hunter scored two runs in the game and is hitting .391 through five games. He has a very favorable spot in the lineup, hitting between Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera. Believe it or not, Hunter has never scored 100 runs, but he could end that drought this season.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera came into Saturday's game a career .440 hitter (9-for-20) with four home runs and nine RBI against Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes, and he went 4-for-4 with an RBI and two runs in the game.
Insight: Cabrera has at least one RBI in all five games this season and is batting .368 after Saturday's game.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson went 3-for-5 with three runs scored Saturday against the Yankees.
Insight: Jackson posted an OBP of .377 last season and scored 103 runs in 137 games. If he can repeat that and play 150 games, the Tigers center fielder would llikely lead the majors in runs. He has seven runs and a .429 batting average in the first five games this season.
Description: Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson is an ugly 1-for-11 (.091) against Yankees starter Phil Hughes with four strikeouts.
Insight: Jackson had the best season of his three-year career, batting .300 with 103 runs, 16 HR, 66 RBI and an .856 OPS in 2012 and even more is expected this season. He's gotten off to a fine start, batting .375, but Saturday is an unfavorable matchup.
Description: Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is a career .440 hitter (9-for-20) with four home runs and nine RBI against Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes.
Insight: The 2012 Triple Crown winner has struggled to get started this season, batting .200 through the first four games without a home run, but he does have five RBI. The favorable matchup with Hughes could get his power numbers going.
Description: Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder exploded for two homers and five RBI in the Tigers' home opener on Friday.
Insight: Fielder was just 2-for-12 in the first series against Minnesota, but it's an odd-numbers year so this should just be the beginning of a big year. Fielder averages .295 with 102 runs, 44 HR, 126 RBI and a 1.002 OPS in odd-numbered seasons versus .280 with 86 runs, 31 HR, 93 RBI and an .880 OPS in even-numbered years.
Description: The Tigers re-signed reliever Jose Valverde on Thursday. SOURCE: Patrick Reusse, 1500 ESPN Twin Cities
Insight: It's a minor league deal so this isn't a guarantee that Valverde will return to his old post as the team's closer. For now, Jim Leyland and company will continue to go with a closer by committee with Joaquin Benoit, Phil Cole, Octavio Dotel and Al Alburquerque all in line for save chances.
Description: Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder has lit up Twins starter Mike Pelfrey in the past.
Insight: He carries a .455 lifetime batting average against him. Fielder is already a must-start so fantasy owners shouldn't have to scramble to their computer to insert him into the lineup last minute.
Description: The Tigers and Justin Verlander have agreed on a new contract that could exceed $202 million, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. The contract is for seven years and $180 million, with a vesting option for the eighth year.
Insight: Verlander is now the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, and deservedly so. He is 41-13 with a 2.52 ERA and 489 strikeouts in 489 1/3 innings over the last two seasons and has averaged 114 pitches per start over the last four years.
Description: The Tigers have demoted Bruce Rondon to Triple-A Toledo.
Insight: The closer job was Rondon's to lose coming into spring, and he lost it. The right-hander allowed 17 hits and nine walks in 12 1/3 innings. It's unclear who the Tigers will employ at closer early in the season, but the candidates are Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke.
Description: Detroit SP Rick Porcello still hasn't been traded due to a high asking price and it appears he'll be the No. 5 starter heading into Opening Day.
Insight: Porcello has talent, but hasn't cracked the 4.50 ERA mark since his rookie season. With the Tigers' offense he could still win 12-14 games, but he's going to hurt your ERA and WHIP and his career 5.0 Ks per nine innings is nothing to write home about. Fantasy owners should seek starting pitching help elsewhere.
Description: The Tigers have released outfielder Brennan Boesch.
Insight: Detroit has Austin Jackson, Andy Dirks, Torii Hunter and Avisail Garcia so Boesch wasn't even going to be the fourth outfielder with the Tigers. Boesch started as the No. 2 hitter last season in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder but slumped so badly that he was soon moved to the bottom of the order. He ended up posting a .659 OPS.