The Detroit Tigers returned home with high hopes after taking two of three from the Texas Rangers. That optimism has been thwarted (and then some) after a second consecutive loss to the Kansas City Royals, this one a 6-1 defeat at Comerica Park on Tuesday evening.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander retired the first eight batters he faced, but before whispers of a no-hitter could start, he hung a breaking ball to rookie second baseman Raul Mondesi. While he doesn’t possess the power that his father did, the younger Mondesi turned on the pitch and launched it into the right field seats to put the Royals up 1-0.
Alex Gordon doubled the Royals’ lead in the top of the fifth. After Verlander had mistakenly walked towards the Tigers dugout after recording the second out of the inning, Gordon crushed a 3-1 slider for Kansas City’s second solo homer of the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia brought the Tigers within a run in the bottom of the inning, belting a solo home run of his own to deep center field.
Neither team threatened in the sixth — Ian Kinsler walked but was promptly picked off of first base — but Eric Hosmer padded the Royals’ lead with a solo homer in the seventh. J.D. Martinez moved into scoring position with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but a flyout from Justin Upton and a James McCann strikeout stranded Martinez in scoring position for the second time.
Then, in the eighth inning - ah, screw it, I’m watching the Olympics.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Salty had one of the Tigers’ three hits, a deep homer to the shrubbery in center field.
J.D. Martinez: He only had one hit, but found himself in scoring position twice, which is more than one could say for any other Tigers player. Martinez would have had a second hit if not for a spectacular defensive play by Cheslor Cuthbert (Martinez still reached base on the fielder’s choice) in the seventh.
Ian Kinsler: The entire Tigers offense is probably deserving of a hiss, but Duffy is pretty good. Instead, our scorn is focused on Kinsler, who was picked off of first base after he walked with one out in the sixth. He probably should have caught that pop-up too.
Justin Upton: He looks so lost at the plate right now.
The Tigers’ defense: That eighth inning was brutal.
STATS AND REACTIONS:
- It’s interesting that McCann has been Verlander’s personal catcher for most of the year, yet Verlander shakes him off as often as any pitcher I’ve ever seen.
- The first two home runs Verlander allowed came off his hybrid slider/cutter. It has averaged 89-90 miles per hour for most of the year, but both homers were on cutters in the 87-88 mph range.
- Verlander’s fastball looked much better than his slider... until he hung a heater to Hosmer for a third solo homer in the seventh.
- The Tigers offense struggled against Duffy, but they’re not alone. Duffy’s 2.73 ERA is second in the AL, and he is just as much of a dark horse Cy Young contender as AL ERA leader Michael Fulmer.
- Tyler Collins has looked competent in center field this year. He should be a solid fourth outfielder next season.
- My bad:
If Alex Gordon fixes himself and hits a homer against the Tigers I’m going to regret this post https://t.co/SIvRccSVEq— Rob Rogacki (@BYBRob) August 10, 2016
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: