Drew Smyly's first start of the season did not go according to plan Friday, when he allowed four runs in three innings against the Angels.
The Tigers southpaw hopes the rust that came with spending the season's opening weeks in the bullpen will have vanished when he takes the mound for the third game of a four-game set with the White Sox on Wednesday.
Just as it seems like the Detroit lineup was growing accustomed to facing left-handed starters, it'll face a righty Tuesday in Chicago's Andre Rienzo. The Tigers are coming off four consecutive games against lefty starters.
Rienzo will be making his first start of the season. In 10 starts last season, his rookie season, Rienzo went 2-3 with a 4.82 ERA.
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera appears poised to break out of a slump that has troubled him for much of the opening month. An 0-for-4 performance Monday night dropped Cabrera's average to .206, though two of those outs were hard hit. After that game, Cabrera was downtrodden, saying an out is an out, whether it's hit 400 feet or 40 feet.
"I thought Miggy took great swings yesterday," said Tuesday night's winning pitcher, Justin Verlander. "He was upset because he didn't have anything to show for it."
Tuesday night, in the win over the White Sox, he had much to show for it. He provided the first glimpse of the back-to-back AL Most Valuable Player-winning version of Cabrera in quite some time. Cabrera jacked a two-run homer to right field and also doubled home a run. A single in the eighth inning rounded out his 3-for-5 night, raising his average to .235.
If this is, indeed, the end of Cabrera's rough start to the season, his manager, Brad Ausmus, never once lost faith in his slugger.
"The best hitters in the world have slumps, and the proof is that Miggy's slumping right now, and he's the greatest hitter in the world," Ausmus said before Monday's game.
Cabrera has never faced Rienzo, who made his Major League debut with the White Sox last season.
White Sox: Injuries won't be an excuse
The White Sox have been without second baseman Gordon Beckham for the entire 2014 season because of a left oblique strain. They lost right fielder Avisail Garcia to season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Right-handed setup man Nate Jones has been bothered by what turned out to be back issues since the start of Spring Training. Right-handed starter Felipe Paulino recently moved to the disabled list with rotator cuff inflammation.
Jeff Keppinger remains in extended spring camp with right shoulder soreness, and Chris Sale, not only the White Sox ace but one of the American League's best pitchers, joined the other five on the disabled list Tuesday with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm. Manager Robin Ventura realizes these losses have been significant, but won't fall back on them as excuses if his team slips up.
"Yeah, it's part of the game. You have to deal with it, and you keep going," Ventura said. "But it's unfortunate. You feel bad for a kid like Avi missing the whole year.
"Injuries are just part of it. You just get another guy in and keep playing. You can't sit around and feel sorry for yourself, because you're going to get your brains beat in if you sit around and worry about injuries and things like that."
Charlie Leesman replaced Sale on Tuesday and didn't make it through three innings during an 8-6 loss. There could be another starter in Sale's spot come Sunday against the Rays.
"We feel like we're dropping like flies around here. We had a lot of people go down," Ventura said. "It started in Spring Training, start the season with a couple of guys, Kep and Gordon. Avi's is just unfortunate. You don't expect for a player to get an injury where he misses the rest of the year."
Tigers: Jackson to return to lineup after short rest
After 16 games and 144 1/3 innings, Austin Jackson had a game off Tuesday. It's not exactly a Prince Fielder-like streak, but it's part of Ausmus' plan to rest his center fielder some early so that he can play him every day late.
"He's played every game, every day," Ausmus said. "He'll be back in there [Wednesday.]"
The 16 consecutive starts are a little deceptive, because four scheduled off-days and two postponements created breaks in the schedule. That said, the Tigers are more than halfway through a stretch of 12 straight games, including a three-game series at Minnesota this weekend.
Last season, Jackson started 33 of the Tigers' first 34 games, playing every inning in 32 of them, before missing a month with a strained right hamstring. Ausmus doesn't have a budget of how often he'd like to rest Jackson, but he'll pick his spots.
"I think you do have to take the long view in the sense that you hope to be in a pennant race in September, where you don't want to give him off-days," Ausmus said. "So if you're taking the long view, you try to mix him in a little bit earlier, in theory to keep him fresher for the last month."
• The Tigers' seven doubles Tuesday night are the most they've had in one game since four years ago, April 22, 2010, at the Angels.
• Jose Abreu's six home runs are the most by a White Sox player through the first 21 games.
• White Sox slugger Adam Dunn, who homered in the ninth inning Tuesday, is five home runs away from tying Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero for 48th place on the all-time list. Bagwell and Guerrero hit 449 in their careers.
• Chicago's Dayan Viciedo has reached base in 15 of his 18 games this season.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.