The Detroit Tigers played their third Grapefruit League game of the 2017 season on Sunday. They traveled to Port St. Lucie, Fla., where they lost to the New York Mets by a 5-2 scoreline. Buck Farmer took the loss, and the Tigers dropped to 1-2 in Grapefruit League play.
Now that we have the unimportant stuff out of the way, let’s get to the specifics.
Matt Boyd wants that roster spot
Lefthander Matt Boyd started the Tigers’ first televised game of the season, and looked as sharp as one could expect in late February. He allowed two hits and struck out two Mets hitters in two scoreless innings.
He struggled against right-handed hitters in 2016, but retired three of the four righties he faced, including second baseman Neil Walker on a high fastball in the bottom of the second. Boyd got away with a lower three-quarters arm slot on this pitch, but was a bit more over-the-top with most of his fastballs.
One might say Boyd got a little lucky, as a sharp liner off the bat of Juan Lagares in the first inning went right to third baseman Dixon Machado. Instead of facing two on and no out, a 5-3 double play gave Boyd two outs with no runners on.
Boyd did well to get Lagares out in front of that pitch, a changeup that many hitters would have whiffed on. Lagares has managed an above average contact rate throughout his career, especially on pitches out of the strike zone. Boyd did hang that pitch a bit, though, along with a curveball that Lagares hit roughly 350 feet down the left field line, but just foul. Still, the changeup is showing decent fade already, a positive sign for Boyd.
Boyd was a bit unlucky to have a runner on in the first place. Boyd jammed leadoff man Jose Reyes with an inside fastball, but the former superstar was able to pull his hands in and line it into left field.
Not many big league hitters have hands that quick. That swing is Exhibit A as to why Reyes is a career .289/.338/.431 hitter.
Buck Farmer: not so impressive
One of the Tigers’ depth pieces heading into 2017, Farmer got off to a rocky start. The first two batters he faced reached base, and only the quick hands of Dixon Machado (on a belt-high fastball, mind you) saved a one-run inning from turning any worse.
Farmer hurt himself even more in the fourth inning, making a pickoff throw to no one. The error allowed Michael Conforto to advance to third base. He eventually scored later in the inning.
An inauspicious debut for Daniel Stumpf
One of the leading candidates to serve as the second lefthander out of the bullpen, Rule 5 pick Daniel Stumpf stumpfed his toe when he gave up a monster home run to Mets outfielder Michael Conforto.
Dominic Ficociello is wearing white cleats
I was excited about this development, and you should be too.
Tyler Collins goes the other way
It came against non-roster invite Chasen Bradford, but Collins put the Tigers on the board with a solid inside-out swing in the top of the eighth.
Collins is a career .265/.321/.431 hitter against right-handed pitching in 334 plate appearances. If he can continue putting up those numbers with swings like the one above, the Tigers might be just fine in center field.