So... that happened.
I'm not going to call Felipe Paulino "mediocre," because maybe he'll actually turn out to be a good pitcher. The Astros seem to think highly of him, and he definitely throws hard. Chalk it up to unfamiliarity, perhaps. Or maybe Paulino just deserves all the credit. But he was making his first start since coming off the DL. And those were some feeble swings the Tigers lineup took against him.
Paulino racked up nine strikeouts, while allowing only one run and three hits in seven innings of work. The only Tigers batter who had any kind of answer for him was Ramon Santiago, who hit a solo homer in the third inning when Paulino teed a fastball right down the middle. That was really the only bad mistake Paulino made all night.
Between that, and Alfredo Figaro continually hanging his off-speed pitches in the strike zone, along with Gerald Laird leaving in the first inning because of back spasms, and it was just a bad night overall. The Tigers have now lost six of their last seven games on the road. That's not looming well for a team that has seven more games to play on their current road trip.
Today's Captain Obvious statement: Eight runs and 10 hits is not the type of performance the Tigers were hoping for from Figaro in his second major league start. Suddenly, the fifth spot in Detroit's starting rotation looks like a question mark again. Credit the Astros for a patient approach at the plate, taking pitches and making a young pitcher work. But Figaro also wasn't throwing very good stuff, either. As mentioned above, his curveballs and change-ups kept finding the middle of the strike zone, and Houston batters just teed off on that soft stuff.
If there's a bright side to Figaro's outing, it's that he toughed out another four innings after getting shelled in the third. He essentially became his own mop-up man, and saved the Tigers from tapping out their bullpen in what became a blowout. And though many of Figaro's strikes were too hittable, at least he threw strikes. The Astros beat him, but he didn't beat himself. That's something we shouldn't take for granted from any fifth starter these days. And I certainly think he warrants at least one more look.
Comment of the Night:
If you did stick this one out until the end, Freddy Dolsi provided at least one highlight for those watching.