Sports aren't played on paper. This is the general idea presented whenever something happens that doesn't go according to plan. An underdog upsets a more powerful foe. An unheralded goalie shuts down a powerful offense. We can use statistics to form an educated hypothesis of future events, but the variance of human performance leaves plenty of room for error. Sometimes, Felix Hernandez gives up eight runs in the first inning. Stuff happens.
Then, there's what happened tonight. Detroit Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein entered Monday's matchup with the Minnesota Twins coming off a pair of subpar outings. The Twins had been a thorn in his side in his brief career, with 15 runs scored in 12 2/3 innings. Small sample size or not, that's bad. On paper, the Tigers were expected to lose this game.
Sure enough, Lobstein struggled again. The Twins jumped on him for four runs in the first inning, and scored another run before he was mercifully removed from the game in the second. Reliever Kyle Ryan allowed an inherited runner to score, increasing Lobstein's career total to 21 earned runs in 14 career innings against Minnesota.
Things settled down -- and sped up, thankfully -- after Lobstein left. Ryan worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing just a solo home run to Eduardo Escobar. The Tigers scored a run in the top of the seventh to avoid their ninth shutout of the season, a noble (if empty) gesture towards those who hadn't already turned their full attention towards their fantasy football teams. Jeff Ferrell and Bruce Rondon threw scoreless innings out of the bullpen. J.D. Martinez had two hits, and Anthony Gose extended his hit streak to six games.
The rest of the game occurred without much fanfare, save for a nice moment where Fox Sports Detroit announcer Rod Allen mentioned the time where Chewbacca appeared in the press box.
Chewbacca : Rod Allen :: Twins offense : Kyle Lobstein.
West Michigan Whitecaps: The Tigers' Single-A affiliate advanced to their first Midwest League Championship Series since 2007 with a 14-5 win over the Lansing Lugnuts.
Kyle Ryan: Thrown into the fire in the second inning, Ryan responded well, pitching 4 2/3 innings and allowing just one run, a solo homer by Eduardo Escobar. While Ryan's inning-eating efforts weren't as necessary as usual -- there are, like, 27 dudes back there now -- it was an impressive outing from the 23-year-old lefty.
Kyle Lobstein: His overall line was bad, but the real hiss comes on a mental error Lobstein had in the first. Torii Hunter hit a slow roller towards second base, but Cabrera cut off Kinsler to field the ball. Instead of recording an easy out, Lobstein failed to cover first base, and Hunter was safe. It was the latest mental gaffe in a season filled with them, and it prolonged the inning, leading to another run.
Steven Moya: The prop bet was on (not really) and Moya earned his first career Golden Sombrero (0-for-4, four strikeouts) before his first career home run (TBD). There were no fielding adventures, but man, did he look rough at the plate.
STREAKS & STATS:
Somehow, the Tigers aren't the worst at this.
With Lobstein's start today, the #Tigers have had a starter go fewer than 3 IP a total of 13 times this season, tied for 2nd most in MLB— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) September 15, 2015
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: