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Short-staffed Mud Hens falter in 3-1 loss to Indianapolis

08/13/2014, 1:02am EDT
By DAVID BRIGGS BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Watch the Hens take on Indianapolis LIVE tonight at 7!

Short-staffed Mud Hens falter

Toledo shortstop Hernan Perez tags out Indianapolis' Jose Tabata on an attempted steal of second base during Tuesday’s contest. THE BLADE/LORI KING

Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish has seen a lot during his 43 years in professional baseball.

No-hitters. Perfect games. Triple plays. Walk-off balks. Cycles. A 21-inning marathon. (The former Expos slugger batted 10 times in Montreal’s 11-8 loss to the San Diego Padres in 1977.)

But his team losing four pitchers in one day?

PHOTO GALLERY: Mud Hens fall at home

“That was a first for me,” Parrish said.

A deluge of hard luck for the Detroit Tigers — two injuries and a 19-inning loss Sunday — left Toledo scrambling heading into its 3-1 loss to the Indianapolis Indians on a damp Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.

After Detroit placed two key pitchers on the 15-day disabled list — starter Anibal Sanchez and reliever Joakim Soria — and depleted its remaining arms in an interminable loss to the Blue Jays, the Tigers on Monday raided the Hens. They called up starter Robbie Ray and relievers Ian Krol, Kevin Whelan, and Justin Miller.

About the only pitcher left was Tuesday’s starter, Kyle Lobstein, who held the Indians to two runs on six hits and struck out seven over six innings.

Some would call it a surprise he wasn’t plucked, too. With Ray replacing Sanchez in the Tigers’ rotation, Lobstein appeared next in line to be summoned by Detroit for an emergency start. He was the Hens’ opening-day starter and, though his 4.17 ERA did not demand a promotion, was the top remaining pitcher in the rotation.

Instead, when the Tigers needed a pitcher for today after scheduled starter Rick Porcello pitched in the 19-inning loss, they bypassed the Hens altogether. Earning the call was 23-year-old Buck Farmer, whose experience includes two starts above Class A. Farmer went 10-5 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 starts at Class-A West Michigan and 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts at Double-A Erie.

Asked if the circumstances could weigh on Lobstein, Parrish said, “Yes. It can make you wonder what ... But part of it has been he just hasn't always pitched real well. It's a results-oriented game, pro ball."

Lobstein, for his part, said he was unaware of the Tigers’ plans to promote Farmer.

“I was just preparing to start today against Indy,“ he said. “You've got to stick with the same gameplan, the same mindset. I’m starting here. Obviously you go where they tell me.”

Does he think he should be next in line for a big-league start?

“I think every guy should have that mentality, that confidence, and I feel like it's going to show on the field,“ he said.

Lobstein (8-11) called his outing a ‘step in the right direction,’ but he received little help. The Hens had only three hits, including a solo home run by Daniel Fields in the fifth inning. Indians starter Nick Kingham (5-3) held Toledo to one run over seven innings. The Hens fell six games behind Columbus in the West division.

The biggest silver lining: The Hens only ran through three pitchers, with Jose Ortega following Lobstein for an inning and Evan Reed finishing the night off with two scoreless innings. Toledo was effectively short three relievers Tuesday, which Parrish knew could be an issue as the Tigers game dragged on Sunday.

“When you saw that game in Toronto, you know we’re going to make a package deal right here,” Parrish said.

The Hens’ side of the package included two Tigers relievers and the addition of free-agent starter Shawn Hill. Detroit optioned Pat McCoy and Miller, who pitched for the Tigers on Monday before shuttling back to Toledo. Hill is scheduled to start for the Hens today.

Contact David Briggs at: dbriggs@theblade.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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