Guillen going on 'feel' with results

Guillen going on 'feel' with results

CLEVELAND -- As Tigers manager Jim Leyland declared over the weekend, it's time for his big guys to step up. Carlos Guillen, he emphasized Wednesday, is one of his big guys.

"That's what it's going to take for us. We know that," Leyland said after Wednesday's 11-3 win over the Indians gave the Tigers a chance to go for a three-game sweep on Thursday night.

Guillen appears to be heating up at the plate after homering left- and right-handed on Wednesday. Guillen, however, is going on feel.

"I feel good," Guillen said. "That's the most important thing, how you feel. It's good."

As the Tigers embark on what appears to be a stretch of right-handed starters, it's a good time for Guillen to feel that way.

Guillen homered off Thursday's scheduled starter, fellow Venezuelan Carlos Carrasco, in Carrasco's Major League debut on Sept. 1 at Comerica Park. He'll get to face his good friend Freddy Garcia at some point this weekend when the Tigers visit the White Sox, who appear set to start three right-handers.

After sitting for stretches earlier this month while teams sent left-handed starters up against Detroit, Guillen is potentially poised for a good weekend at just the right time.

Thursday would be particularly good. With the Twins idle, the Tigers could extend their lead to three games in the American League Central with 10 games to play, the same advantage Detroit had going into the week.

Guillen's second homer on Wednesday came in just his second right-handed at-bat since coming off the disabled list in July. He tried it last week against Royals southpaw Bruce Chen and felt comfortable, making him confident he could do it again.

Wednesday's performance showed Leyland isn't afraid to keep him in the lineup against a left-handed reliever, a good note since Cleveland has a few of them. The bigger sign to come out of it, though, is that Guillen's problematic right shoulder is feeling good swinging from both sides. Soreness in the shoulder kept him from swinging right-handed until recently.

"I've been feeling pretty good with my shoulder," Guillen said.

It still bothers him from time to time, and he'll have an intense rehab process ahead of him this winter to correct it, but it doesn't hamper him as much.

That makes Guillen a potentially big bat for Leyland again.

"Carlos is one of the big boys," Leyland said, "but it wasn't fair to ask Carlos to do all that much, because he really hasn't had many games. He hasn't played much, so that's a little difficult. But he's certainly one of the big boys. There's no question about that. He's one of our veterans. I said pretty much we're going to go with our veterans."

Pitching matchup
DET: RHP Justin Verlander (16-9, 3.44 ERA)
Don't let the numbers from his last outing fool you. Verlander took a one-run game into the eighth inning before a fly ball lost against the roof of the Metrodome for a double helped spring open a five-run Twins rally. Verlander hit 101 mph on his 127th and final pitch of that outing, a Jason Kubel bloop single that brought in two runs and extended Verlander's winless streak to three consecutive starts. He won't get an extra day of rest after throwing 128 pitches Saturday, so his pitch count might have to be watched closely.

CLE: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 9.64 ERA)
Carrasco, three starts into his Major League career, continues to give up big hits at bad times. He allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts over six innings in a loss to the Royals on Sept. 13. Carrasco, a key starting pitching prospect acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, has now given up 15 earned runs in 14 total innings over three starts. He's been tagged for six home runs and has had trouble getting movement on his fastball.

Look for Magglio Ordonez to return to the lineup after getting Wednesday night off in favor of Clete Thomas. ... Look, too, for Gerald Laird to catch again for a sixth straight start. ... Leyland said he's considering starting rookie Alex Avila behind the plate Friday night for starter Eddie Bonine, whom Avila caught at Triple-A Toledo. ... Miguel Cabrera is batting .358 (24-for-67) with three home runs and 11 RBIs against Cleveland this year.

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Up next
• Friday: Tigers (Nate Robertson, 2-2, 5.13) at White Sox (Jake Peavy, 7-6, 4.05), 8:11 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Tigers (Eddie Bonine, 0-0, 5.96) at White Sox (Freddy Garcia, 2-3, 4.01), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Tigers (Edwin Jackson, 13-7, 3.25) at White Sox (Daniel Hudson, 0-1, 3.38), 2:05 p.m. ET

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.