September is going to be a test of faith and endurance for Tigers' fans. A cold and lonely vigil, panning a month's worth of meaningless games for just the faintest glimmer of gold as we begin to look toward 2016. Those who persevered on Thursday night witnessed a pair of criminally bad starts from the Tigers' Matt Boyd and his opponent, Edison Volquez.
Boyd simply had nothing for the Royals on Thursday night. His command was poor from the beginning, forcing him to dip into his quiver of secondary offerings early and often. Even when he got ahead in counts, he couldn't put hitters away. He surrendered three runs in the first, and his night ended very early after a three-run shot from Lorenzo Cain with no outs in the second inning.
The Tigers' offense treated Volquez just as roughly. Anthony Gose led off the game with his fifth long-ball of the season, a 424-foot missile into the left-field seats. Nick Castellanos pushed the lead to three with a two-out, two-run double down the right-field line. He added another two-out RBI as part of a three-run third inning for the Tigers, which knotted the game at six runs apiece.
Jose Iglesias had a rough night, taking a fastball off his lead hand while attempting to bunt in the third inning. Iglesias was clearly in a lot of pain, and was replaced by Andrew Romine. Fortunately x-rays came back negative for a broken bone, but Iglesias is likely to require a few days off.
The contest devolved into a duel of long relievers between the Royals' Chris Young and the Tigers' Kyle Ryan. Ryan battled, but was bled for a pair of runs in the fourth and another in the sixth. Al Alburquerque returned to the mound for the first time in over a week to put down the Royals' sixth inning rally. Flashing velocity up to 97 mph, Alburquerque looked healthy, but was quickly knocked out of the game in the seventh on three straight singles and a walk.
Gorzelanny came into the game for reasons unknown, perhaps simply to spare some of the Tigers' young arms from this Kobayashi Maru scenario. He immediately allowed three inherited runners to score, as is his custom. But, Gorzo. Was. Not. Finished. A three-run bomb to left from Paulo Orlando made the score 15-7. The Royals pounded out 20 hits in a game lasting almost exactly four hours. September's game of bullpen roulette, Russian-style, spins on toward oblivion.
Later, Bryan Holaday played second base...Drew VerHagen provided a sliver of hope for the future. But for now, the Tigers have earned this suffering, every bit of it. I'll leave you with the death poem of Minamoto Yorimasa (1104-1180 A.D.).
Like a rotten log,
half-buried in the ground--
my life, which
has not flowered, comes
to this sad end.
Miguel Cabrera- A third inning double gave Cabrera 39 multi-hit games on the season.
Nick Castellanos- Castellanos continued to do his best work with runners in scoring position, doubling in a pair of runs in the first, and then adding an RBI single in the third. He also smacked another double in the fifth inning, making mock of the supposed BYB jinx with a 3-for-4 night with three RBI.
Anthony Gose- A lead-off blast put the Tigers on the board before the fans had found their seats. He added a walk, a single and his 20th stolen base.
Ian Kinsler- Ian Kinsler added a single and a double to continue his monster second half.
Tyler Collins- Signs of life for the Tigers left-field intern, as Collins added three hits, an RBI and a run to the Tigers' attack.
Matt Boyd- Boyd just could not put anyone away in this one, recording just three outs before being knocked out of the game in the second inning after giving up six runs. A 54.00 ERA night, is a very bad night indeed.
The Martinez Bros.- The heart of the Tigers' order was lifeless, stranding eight baserunners, with a seventh inning Victor Martinez single and two runs scored accounting for all their production on the night.
The Bullpen- What can I say about the bullpen that has not been said about the bubonic plague?
STREAKS AND STATS:
-Ian Kinsler's sixth-inning double gave him 52 multi-hit games on the season, and he continues to lead all MLB in that category by three over former Tigers Yoenis Cespedes and Prince Fielder.
-Miguel Cabrera's 2-for-4 night left his batting average at .361 after he was lifted in the seventh inning. Another batting title looks well in hand.
-The Tigers' pitching staff compiled a 11.44 ERA and 2.53 WHIP on this road trip. Barkeep!! Another round!
#TIGERS: For the 4th time in 11 days, Tigers gave up 12-plus runs in a game, losing 15-7 to the Royals. Boyd didn't make it out of the 2nd— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) September 4, 2015
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: