Tigers’ Jake Rogers snuffs out Mets’ last base runner with rocket throw to second

Detroit News

Detroit — Down by two runs in the top of the ninth inning Thursday, the last thing one would expect to see is Brandon Nimmo, the first base runner the Mets produced since the fourth inning, try to steal second base.

But off he went, promptly thrown out by catcher Jake Rogers. And a couple of pitches later, Alex Lange struck out Starling Marte to close out the Tigers’ 2-0 win and the series sweep at Comerica Park.

“The closer is a 1.55 (seconds to the plate) on average,” said Nimmo, who added he went on his own and there was no steal sign from the bench. “I was thinking it was a tough matchup for Starling and I don’t want a ground ball double play here, but I also don’t want to get thrown out. But on a 1.55, I’m thinking I should be there pretty much every time.

“That’s what I was thinking in my head, 10 out of 10 times, I should be there even on a bad jump.”

Make that 10 out of 11 times. He had a good jump, but Rogers still threw him out, thanks in part to a swift tag by second baseman Zack Short.

“When I saw the ball in front of me, I was extremely surprised,” Nimmo said. “I went back and I looked at the tape. The catcher did an amazing job of getting rid of it. He must have made up for a lot of time there.”

Miggy improving

Miguel Cabrera, who has been fighting off an illness all week, was not in the lineup for the fourth straight game Thursday, but manager AJ Hinch said he would be available to pinch-hit if needed.

Cabrera walked through the clubhouse before the game and gave a thumbs-up to reporters. He said he planned to get a workout and hit in the cage, with the hope of being back in the lineup Friday in St. Louis.

“Miggy’s not done a ton the last couple of days,” Hinch said. “He’s feeling incrementally better. But he looks like a guy who’s been sick for a few days. He’s available today but we’re going to give him one more day not to start.

“We’re facing a lefty (Jordan Montgomery) in St. Louis. That’s a good one to pencil him in.”

Starter needed

The Tigers, in the midst of playing nine games in nine days, have a decision to make on Sunday. Right now they are listing their starter for the finale in St. Louis as TBA.

“I’ve got guys in there lobbying for Tyler Alexander to start on Sunday,” Hinch said, half-joking. “He can do anything we ask. He generally throws strikes. He’s that Swiss Army knife guy who is never underappreciated but is often under talked about because of a lack of appeal for the role.”

Alexander was taking some good-natured ribbing for his one-pitch win in Game 1 Wednesday.

“You mean our one-pitch specialist,” Hinch said.

If the Tigers decided to make Sunday’s start a bullpen game, Alexander could be an option to begin the game. Another option would be to call up right-hander Alex Faedo, who would be on turn, from Toledo.

Around the horn

Shortstop Javier Báez, who homered off Justin Verlander and has hit safely now in 14 of 16 games, got hit in the left hand for the second time nine days. He missed a game earlier because of the bruise. He stayed in the game.

“They are pitching him up and in and balls get away,” Hinch said. “Those are dangerous and scary. That’s why you saw him so angry. … Javy was more mad that hurt. But he’s going to be sore. I don’t know if he’s going to need a day or not.”

On deck: Cardinals

Series: Three games at Busch Stadium, St. Louis

First pitch: Friday — 8:15 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday — 2:15 p.m.

TV/radio: All three games on BSD/97.1

Probables: Friday — LHP Matthew Boyd (1-2, 5.47) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-4, 3.34); Saturday — RHP Spencer Turnbull (1-4, 6.84) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (season debut); Sunday — TBA vs. LHP Steven Matz (0-4, 6.39)

Montgomery, Cardinals: He’s gotten very little run support, literally zero run support in his last two starts, games in which he allowed just one earned run in 12⅔ innings with 13 strikeouts and only three walks. When he’s spotting his 93-mph sinker, his changeup (44% swing-and-miss rate) and curveball become doubly effective.

Boyd, Tigers: He’s coming off a rough one against the Orioles. They paper-cut him with five singles in a four-run second inning and then KO’d him with a two-run homer in the sixth. His four-seam fastball (.224 opponent average and 30% whiff rate) and changeup (58% whiff) have been mostly effective. What is typically his best pitch, the slider (.300 BA, only 18.5% whiff), has been sketchy.

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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