DETROIT -- Another rough start for Shane Greene put the Detroit Tigers in a deep hole early in the game, and an imploding bullpen buried any possibility of a win. The Tigers lost 12-3 to the Chicago Cubs, forcing a two-game series split and ending Detroit's three-game winning streak.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was asked before the game whether Wednesday's start was essentially a "D-Day outing" for Greene. Carefully dodging a firm answer, Ausmus noted the team had to worry about the current start before thinking ahead. But from the looks of Greene's start, and his recent starts, a trip to Triple-A Toledo might not be far off.
Greene lasted just three innings and gave up five runs on seven hits, including a monster three-run shot to Chris Coghlan in the third. While he did throw 41 of his 61 pitches for strikes, Greene lacked command of the strike zone. Kyle Ryan gave the Tigers three solid innings, but the bullpen after that got lit up for six runs in the seventh, highlighted by Al Alburquerque serving up a three-run blast on his birthday.
Meanwhile, the Tigers' bats went cold through five innings. Cubs starter Jake Arrieta no-hit Detroit for 3 1/3 innings until Ian Kinsler broke it up with a single, and the Tigers loaded the bases on three straight hits with one out in the fifth. However, the usually aggressive third base coach Dave Clark opted to hold J.D. Martinez at third, instead of testing Dexter Fowler's center-field arm. No runs scored.
The Tigers momentarily got back into the game in the sixth when two infield singles were followed up with a three-run blast by Yoenis Cespedes. The decision in the fifth loomed large as it could've been a 6-4 game had Clark sent Martinez, and despite Tyler Collins' two-out triple, Nick Castellanos stranded him at third. Kinsler and Collins both finished the day with multiple hits, but after the sixth the Tigers' bats went down quietly.
Kyle Ryan: Saved the Tigers bullpen for a while by pitching three innings of four-hit ball, striking out two and giving up an unearned run only due to Anthony Gose's fielding error.
Yoenis Cespedes: Absolutely blasted a three-run shot into left field, cutting Detroit's deficit in half at the time with one swing. He also drew a leadoff walk in the second inning and made some good defensive plays in left.
Shane Greene: Five earned runs on seven hits, a walk, three strikeouts, a hit batter and a three-run shot surrendered in just three innings. Every level of not good. The Toledo pinstripes are closing in.
Tigers offense: The Tigers loaded the bases in the fifth but couldn't score. They managed to get just one hit and grounding into two double plays before the fifth and striking out four times. And despite a two-out triple by Tyler Collins, Nick Castellanos struck out to end the sixth, stranding a run.
The bullpen: No. Just, no. That wasn't just a bad night, it was a horrible one. The Tigers had cut deficit in half and the bullpen gave it right back, allowing six (!) runs in the seventh. Two walks to load the bases, a walk to force in a run, a two-run single, and a three-run blast to cap off a dismal bullpen display. Yeah. Bad night.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Shane Greene has given up 22 earned runs on 32 hits in 21 innings pitched in his last five starts, handing Greene a painfully inflated 9.43 ERA.
- Miguel Cabrera's on-base streak of 27 consecutive games was snapped with an 0-for-3 night. He struck out once and grounded into a double play.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: