The Detroit Tigers are determined not to let Delmon Young's arrest be a distraction while in New York, but they definitely need a boost to snap out of their current funk.
The Tigers hope rookie Drew Smyly can continue his fast start Saturday when their series continues against the Yankees.
Young did not play in Friday night's 7-6 loss following his arrest in the early morning hours and faces a charge of misdemeanor aggravated harassment that entails targeting someone for his or her religious beliefs. It is alleged Young made anti-Semitic epithets and could face up to one year in jail.
While he did not speak during his arraignment Friday morning, Young did release a statement apologizing for his actions, and both the Tigers and Major League Baseball said they will continue to monitor the case.
Manager Jim Leyland was in no mood to discuss Young's situation following a walkoff defeat in which Derek Jeter scored on a passed ball with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
"Get lost, get lost, get lost,'' Leyland snapped after Detroit's fifth straight defeat. "Do yourself a favor and get lost.''
It was the seventh loss in eight games for the Tigers (10-10), including the second straight by one run. Catcher Alex Avila had a tough ninth inning as a ball four skipped by him for a wild pitch that allowed Jeter to race from first to third.
Young was 2 for 18 in his last five games before his arrest, and Don Kelly went 0 for 3 with a run scored and two walks as his replacement in left field. The other new addition to the lineup - designated hitter Brad Eldred - went 2 for 5 with an RBI triple in his season debut, and he figures to get significant playing time following the release of veteran fan favorite Brandon Inge.
While Leyland's lineup tinkering may continue due to Young's situation, Smyly (0-0, 1.13 ERA) has been surprisingly steady through his first three major league starts. The 22-year-old left-hander has not allowed more than one run in any of them.
Smyly's lone mistake in six innings Sunday against a potent Texas lineup was a solo homer by Josh Hamilton, and he struck out seven before Detroit lost 3-2 in 11 innings. Two of the three runs he's allowed have come on solo homers, and Smyly has struck out 15 in 16 innings.
"He's got really good command of all of his pitches right now," Avila told the team's official website. "He's just throwing a lot of strikes, mixing it up well. He threw fantastic. He's really improved a lot from spring training and from the first start."
While Smyly is drawing raves, Yankees counterpart Freddy Garcia (0-1, 9.75) is doing anything but. The right-hander has allowed at least four runs in all three of his starts and was given a quick hook last Saturday, when he gave up five runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings at Boston before New York (11-8) rallied for a 15-9 win.
While Garcia's 18 lifetime wins against Detroit are his most against any team, he has not beaten them in four starts since June 9, 2010. He is 18-8 with a 3.88 ERA in 32 lifetime starts, but Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera - who notched his 1,000th career RBI on Friday - is 9 for 23 with three homers against him.
Jeter will try to avoid going hitless in consecutive games for the first time this season after going 0 for 4 Friday to end his 15-game hitting streak. He has hit safely in 17 of 19 games while batting .400.