Asche will head to the bench for the fifth consecutive game as the Tigers send southpaw Matt Boyd out to the mound. The 26-year-old is off to a brutal start to the season offensively, batting just .057 to start the season, so his absence from the lineup isn't all too surprising.
Cruz said he felt it after he knocked a double during Thursday's win over the Tigers. It doesn't appear to be anything overly serious, though, given the 36-year-old said he should be available to pinch hit Friday and expects to return to the lineup for the second game of the series Saturday.
With the Angels sending southpaw Tyler Skaggs to the mound, Choo will head to the bench as Mike Napoli serves as the DH and Ryan Rua moves over to first base.
Not much else is known given the vague diagnosis, so expect another update once the Mariners release more on Cruz's status. Taylor Motter replaced him in the lineup for the game.
The veteran slugger opened the scoring on the night with a single to deep right that brought home Mike Trout, and he subsequently scored Los Angeles' second and final run on C.J. Cron's double later in the inning. Pujols' 18 RBI lead the Angels and also place him in a second-place tie with the Indians' Jose Ramirez behind Nelson Cruz in the AL. The 37-year-old extended his hitting streak to seven games with Thursday's production, and he's now knocked in seven runs overall during that stretch.
Beltran will head to the bench after starting the last six games (two in left field), while Brian McCann takes over as DH and Evan Gattis serves as the backstop.
The power still hasn't arrived for the veteran slugger (two home runs in 94 plate appearances), but he has raised his batting average to a respectable .247 after struggling out of the gates. Despite his lack of homers, Pujols has provided value to his fantasy owners with 17 RBI, which ranks second amongst all designated hitters and fifth among first basemen (which he may qualify in depending on league settings).
The lack of a designated hitter in a National League ballpark puts Morales on the shelf, at least for Thursday's opener. Justin Smoak will occupy first base and hit cleanup. Morales should return to action for the nightcap, so don't remove him from your daily lineups.
That's now three straight games with a homer for Cruz, who has 10 RBI in that span. He also has a seven-game hitting streak going, and Wednesday's performance actually lowered his batting average during that span to .522. Father Time clearly has not come for the 36-year-old Cruz quite yet.
Choo enjoyed a huge eighth inning in this one, tripling and scoring to lead it off before launching a three-run homer to right in his second at-bat as the Rangers broke it open. He has now reached 12 times during his seven-game on-base streak to raise his OBP to .380 and is up to fourth on the team with 10 RBI. Choo had an inauspicious start to the season, but he has come on of late and could be one of the keys to getting the rest of the lineup started.