Gonzalez was dealing with a sinus infection earlier in the week but there has been nothing yet to suggest his absence Thursday is related. Manager Dave Roberts is sitting most of his lefty batters against Christian Friedrich, with Joc Pederson being the lone exception.
Howard started five of the last six games at first base and is expected to start all three of the Phillies' final three games this season, so manager Pete Mackanin decided to give him a day to rest Thursday. Tommy Joseph will man first base for the Phillies in Howard's place.
Austin has been sharing time at first bast with Mark Teixeira lately, but will get the nod to start and hit ninth Thursday night. For the year, Austin has posted an underwhelming .230 batting average over 27 games.
Moss is an ugly 6-for-80 (.075) this month and has just one hit since Sept. 18, so manager Mike Matheny decided to hold him out of the lineup for Thursday's key contest. Jose Martinez will get the start in left field in Moss' place.
After clinching the AL East on Wednesday night, Ramirez will have Thursday off. Ramirez has dominated at the plate during the month of September, as he's posted a .323/.388/.667 line with 10 home runs in that time. Travis Shaw will start in his place at first base and hit eighth.
He hit a home run and narrowly missed hitting a second big fly in Wednesday's rain-shortened game, and while manager Brad Ausmus admitted after the game that Cabrera is hobbled by a knee issue, it seems unlikely he will miss time as long as the Tigers stay in the postseason hunt. They enter Thursday one game back of the Orioles in the hunt for the second wild card spot in the American League.
Cabrera thought his first-inning drive was gone, only to watch it hit off the wall. His fifth-inning drive, on the other hand, had little doubt, a classic Cabrera opposite-field swing toward the right-field corner. The slugger's 36th home run of the season was his 306th as a Tiger, tying him with Hank Greenberg for third in franchise history. It wound up being a game-winning deep fly as the game would end after five innings due to rain. Cabrera is hitting .400 with 14 RBI and three home runs over his last 11 games to help the Tigers stay in the playoff hunt.
It might not have any lasting impact on the playoff standings, but this one was for the ages. Teixeira is in his final week of professional baseball, and with the bases loaded and New York down two runs, Teixeira belted one 409 feet to win the game. It was his second straight game with a homer and third since Sept. 20. He is hitting .205, but Teixeira has 15 bombs on the year.
It could be just a case of giving the veteran some rest with the Dodgers locked into the playoffs, but no specific reason for his departure has surfaced to this point. Los Angeles finishes off their series against the Padres on Thursday, so it will be interesting to see if he rejoins the lineup.
Cabrera's injury doesn't appear to be anything serious and he played the entire game (rain shortened it to five innings). Given the Tigers' current battle for a playoff spot, it would likely require a lot for the veteran slugger to miss a contest. Regardless, it may be something worth monitoring ahead of Thursday's series finale against the Indians.