(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - As it turned out, after the Tigers' rallies fell short in the eighth and ninth innings, the best news of the day for the home team had come from manager Brad Ausmus in his pregame media session.
"I think we have a stretch coming of five lefties in six days pitching against us," Ausmus said before Wednesday night's 3-2 loss to Cleveland right-hander Zach McAllister.
Ausmus was looking ahead to visits by the southpaw-stocked Angels and White Sox over the next week. He made the comment as he discussed lefty-swinging catcher Alex Avila — perhaps suggesting Avila's attempt to heat up won't get easier with those left-handers coming up.
As the game unfolded, Ausmus' comment took on a larger context. The Tigers are 6-5, and in all five losses, a right-handed starter has held the heavily right-handed Tigers to one run or fewer.
McAllister pitched six innings and allowed one run. He left with a 3-1 lead. Miguel Cabrera's two-out RBI single got the Tigers within 3-2 in the eighth. Avila got the potential tying run to third with one out in the ninth on a double and fielding error by centerfielder Michael Bourn. Closer John Axford fanned Don Kelly (batting for Alex Gonzalez) with the infield in, then retired Rajai Davis on a grounder to short to end it.
The lefties can't get to Comerica soon enough.
First, the Tigers are due to see a tough right-hander each of the next two days in Cleveland's Danny Salazar and the Angels' Jered Weaver.
Then Angels lefties C.J. Wilson and Hector Santiago are listed to start the final two games of that series. The White Sox, who have three left-handed starters, arrive Monday for a four-game series.
Here is the roll call on the right-handed starters who have dominated the Tigers the past 1½weeks:
■ Baltimore's Chris Tillman: 81⁄3 innings, one run.
■ The Dodgers' Dan Haren: six innings, one run.
■ San Diego's Andrew Cashner: nine innings, no runs.
■ San Diego's Tyson Ross: seven innings, one run.
■ McAllister: six innings, one run.
Totals for the right-handed starters in those five games: 361⁄3 innings, four runs.