DETROIT — Going into the ninth, the Tigers had a golden chance at a six-game win streak, but instead Francisco Rodriguez blew his chance for a save to hand Detroit a stunning 7-4 loss. A decent start by Daniel Norris and strong showing by the rest of the bullpen were spoiled as a result, and the missed offensive chances loomed large.
Norris had good stuff working for him once again, but the location of said stuff was less refined. He struggled to get hitters out in two-strike counts, and had to work around baserunners in all but the the first and third innings. He would finish with six strikeouts in 5 2⁄3 innings of work, but at 100 pitches with two outs in the sixth he just didn’t have enough command to finish it out.
Norris has battled with his command this year, and Saturday was the latest example. He has truly devastating stuff on his pitches, but he often deals with a lack of consistently placing those pitches in the zone. As a result, his day was shortened and while he left having only allowed two runs on six hits, it was another up and down start for the young starter.
The offense had their own struggles, too. The Tigers rattled off double-digit hits against the Royals, forcing starter Yordano Ventura to work hard all afternoon. But despite a bases-loaded chance to bust it open and two two-on opportunities, they had but three runs. Even when they tacked on a run in the sixth off of J.D. Martinez’s RBI single, the Tigers stranded the bases loaded again.
Cameron Maybin: Had a three-hit day, all singles, but he drove in two runs and scored twice.
J.D. Martinez: Martinez trimmed his beard out of superstition and ended up with a two-hit day to go along with a walk.
Daniel Norris: Despite the heavy workload, Norris battled through to give the Tigers a solid start. He wasn’t spotless, but he limited the damage and struck out six.
Tigers bullpen without K-Rod: Lights-out. Alex Wilson retired the final batter in the sixth, Justin Wilson pitched a clean seventh, and Bruce Rondon was on fire in the eighth.
Tigers offense: For as good as a day that Maybin and J.D. were having, the rest of the offense couldn’t drive in runs. It led to several big missed chances and a closer game than was necessary.
Francisco Rodriguez: Blew it. The end.
STATS AND INFO:
- The Tigers had 14 hits through eight innings, and yet left 14 men on-base. They stranded the bases loaded twice, and had at least one stranded runner in every inning.
- Bruce Rondon has now allowed just one run in 13 2⁄3 innings since Aug. 24, spanning 14 games for an 0.68 ERA. That run came on Sept. 16, over a week ago.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: