DETROIT — Manager Ron Gardenhire says he’s taking advantage of the fact that Detroit’s front office is in Cooperstown, N.Y., this weekend to observe the induction of right-hander Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“I’m making the trades myself,” he quipped Friday during his pregame news conference. “Right now.”
One of the few players the Tigers have who might draw interest, right-hander Mike Fiers, pitched a decent game Friday night. He shut out Cleveland for four innings before throwing a 2-2 fastball right down the middle for Francisco Lindor to crack for a tying two-run homer with one out in the fifth.
Fiers yielded a second home run, a solo shot, to Yonder Alonso in the sixth and wound up allowing three runs and five hits in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts. The score was tied at 3 when he left.
Brandon Guyer belted a three-run, pinch-homer in a four-run eighth and Lindor hit his second home run of the game and 27th of the season in the ninth to help Cleveland overpower Detroit 8-3.
Gardenhire announced after the game that Saturday’s scheduled starter, left-hander Francisco Liriano, had to be hospitalized after having an allergic reaction to something and left-hander Blaine Hardy will start in his place.
Gardenhire didn’t shy away from addressing the talk that annually sweeps baseball as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
“Guys think about it,” he said. “I’ve talked with some of them about it. I tell them it’s a blessing that someone wants you, someone is interested in you.”
The Indians are in addition mode, as they have been in recent Julys.
They made a move to buck up a spotty bullpen on July 19, getting Adam Cimber and closer Brad Hand from San Diego.
Given that Cleveland has a closer in Cody Allen, the addition of Hand could cause problems.
Manager Terry Francona navigated that stream a few seasons ago with the addition of left-hander Andrew Miller. Francona had Allen close most of the games but used Miller in that role when the situation called for it.
It’s not the same this year because Allen has a 6.41 ERA (19 earned runs in 26 2/3 innings) in his last 19 games. Francona has been trying to get him straightened out in non-save situations in his last three appearances, including Friday night when Allen pitched 1 1/3 innings.
“I’ve talked to Cody a few times about getting him in situations where maybe I think it’s good for him,” Francona said. “Like, even if it’s not the ninth inning, but matching him up in a situation where he comes in and he just competes.
“So you might see that happen for the foreseeable future. We’re trying to get him on a roll.”
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-6, 3.43 ERA) makes his second start against Detroit this season on Saturday night, working on an extra day of rest. He gave up two runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings on June 9, although he did not figure in the decision.
Clevinger has a 2.62 road ERA this season in 10 starts. Against Detroit, he is 4-1 lifetime with a 2.36 ERA in seven games, one in relief.
Hardy (3-3, 3.77) has not pitched against Cleveland this season and will be making his first career start against the Indians. He has pitched against them 23 times to a 5.47 ERA and a 2-2 record.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin was a late scratch from Cleveland’s starting lineup because of a sore right hip. He was replaced by Rajai Davis, who also slotted in as the No. 9 hitter.