With the Tigers' pitching staff in disarray, left-hander Robbie Ray will make his first Major League start since May on Tuesday night against the Pirates at PNC Park.
Ray, who is being called upon after Anibal Sanchez was placed on the disabled list, was originally in line to start Wednesday for Detroit, which has lost five of its last six and fallen into second place in the division behind Kansas City for the first time since June 19.
Ray, 22, made his Major League debut just more than three months ago and last appeared for the Tigers on May 22. His first two starts went well, as he allowed just one run and nine hits over 11 1/3 innings. In his last start, though, Ray was hit hard by the Rangers, allowing seven runs on nine hits in just 3 1/3 frames. In his latest start, Ray allowed one run in seven innings for Triple-A Toledo last Monday.
The Tigers -- who called up three relievers on Monday -- will hope Ray will have more staying power Tuesday, as they are in need of a long outing. Monday's starter, Justin Verlander, lasted just one inning due to right shoulder soreness and Detroit's bullpen has pitched 19 innings in its last two games.
Meanwhile, Edinson Volquez will get the ball for the Bucs, hoping to follow up on a strong showing in his last start.
Volquez tossed seven shutout innings against the Marlins on Thursday. It was the right-hander's first start of at least six innings since he threw a complete game against the Cardinals on July 10, and he struck out seven Miami hitters -- tying a season high.
"I had good control of my fastball. There was a lot of movement on my fastball," Volquez said. "That was good for me, because I could keep the ball down and get a lot of ground balls. That was nice to get ahead in the count all the time and stay aggressive."
Pirates: McCutchen placed on disabled list
Andrew McCutchen, the 2013 National League MVP, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday.
McCutchen has not played in more than a week, and the move is retroactive to Aug. 4, the day after the center fielder fractured a rib in his left side taking a swing against the D-backs. Right-hander Casey Sadler was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis to take McCutchen's roster spot and aid the Bucs' bullpen.
The Pirates delayed McCutchen's trip to the DL as they initially hoped to get him back in the lineup before 15 days. But with second baseman Neil Walker also facing injury troubles (back tightness), McCutchen was officially sidelined Monday.
He's already a week into his recovery program, however. He's taken swings, played catch and Monday, he was fielding a few fly balls during batting practice.
"He's been so positive, he's been aggressive. He's been uninhibited in his attempt to work through this," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday. "...He still has to get to the point of swinging the bat 100 percent, running the bases 100 percent, playing fearless in the outfield at 100 percent. Those are the next steps, but at this time, he's passed every barrier we've thrown at him with flying colors."
McCutchen was actually ahead of his MVP pace before the injury with a slash line of .311/.411/.536, 17 home runs and 67 RBIs.
Tigers: Whelan pitches in Majors for first time in three seasons
Kevin Whelan came out of the Tigers' bullpen and stepped onto a Major League mound for the first time in more than three years.
Whelan, 30, built a solid resume in Triple-A Toledo this season, where he had 20 saves and a 1.85 ERA. And when the Tigers needed bullpen arms this week, Whelan was one of the players they turned to.
In his Detroit debut, the right-hander gave up back-to-back homers to Russell Martin and Ike Davis in his 1 1/3 innings.
The only other Major League experience he had came in 2011, when he made two appearances in June for the Yankees. Whelan wasn't sure if he would pitch again after having a 4.97 with Triple-A Louisville (Cincinnati affiliate) last season, he was happy for the opportunity the Tigers gave him.
"It was kind of to the point really this year where I didn't know if I was going to play again, and then got an opportunity with Detroit," he said prior to Monday's game. "And really, I just sat down and prayed about it with my wife and didn't worry about it, and said, 'If this is our last year, then let's go at it 100 percent.' And things have worked out so far."
• The Pirates have scored in the first inning of each of their last four games. They've scored a total of 10 runs in those frames, half of which came Monday against Verlander.
• Tuesday's contest in PNC Park marks the Tigers' last regular season game in an NL Park and the last time they'll be without a DH in their lineup.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.