The Tigers took a big step to exorcising the demons that haunted them in 2016 against the Cleveland Indians, picking up a 7-6 victory in the first matchup of the 2017 season. Daniel Norris took the concept of “effectively wild” to the extreme, walking four in six innings. Despite this, he struck out five and kept the dangerous Cleveland offense off the board. Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila each hit opposite field home runs off of Trevor Bauer to pace the offense.
Norris struggled to find the zone all game, throwing just 54 strikes out of 101 pitches. He managed to find effectiveness by getting seven ground balls off of Cleveland’s bats and stranded multiple runners in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings.
The bullpen was its usual shaky self. Kyle Ryan loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth before Justin Wilson was brought in to quell the flames. Wilson allowed a run to score on a Roberto Perez RBI groundout, but got Carlos Santana to strike out with the bases loaded.
William Cuevas made his MLB debut in the 9th and it was not the best. He notched his first strikeout but couldn’t finish the inning. Francisco Rodriguez was forced to come on and close the game out. Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-out, pinch-hit grand slam to bring the Indians within one. Finally, K-Rod managed to strike Austin Jackson out to end the game.
The offense, in the mean time, is getting untracked after starting the season quietly. Jose Iglesias got the scoring started in the second with an infield single to score Justin Upton. Cabrera struck next and struck emphatically, with a line drive to the right field bleachers in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead. Avila ended Bauer’s night by homering to left to score Tyler Collins in the 6th. The Tigers tacked on (apparently much-needed) insurance in the 9th when Nicholas Castellanos doubled in Iglesias.
Daniel Norris: Norris did what the Tigers needed, holding the Indians to just 2 hits in 6 innings. While not a particularly deep outing, he hit the threshold for a quality start, which is a step in the right direction for the young lefty.
Miguel Cabrera: 3-run dingers always earn you a roar. Bonus points when it comes off of Trevor Bauer.
Alex Avila: Avila apparently still loves to torture the Indians. He went 2-3 on the night, hitting a homer and drawing a walk. Welcome home, Alex.
Jose Iglesias: Iglesias went 3-4 with a double, an RBI and 2 runs scored.
Kyle Ryan: Ryan had another rough outing tonight, allowing 3 runners to reach and getting just one out. If he doesn’t stop walking batters, Blaine Hardy may need to be the next man up.
William Cuevas: That was not the best debut. Cuevas came in with a six-run lead in the ninth and proceeded to put four of the five batters he faced on, forcing Francisco Rodriguez to bail him out. Cuevas will not be around long.
The whole bullpen: I don’t like having to keep editing, okay?
Stats and Info:
- Jose Iglesias had his second consecutive three-hit game. He only had two hits in the previous seven games before that.
- Miguel Cabrera hit his 448th career home run tonight. It is not a milestone, but we can still stare in awe at it.
- Alex Avila is batting .625 on the season. Seems pretty sustainable to me.
- The Tigers have homered in each of their first ten games, a franchise record.
- Detroit’s pitching has walked 15 (!) batters over the last two games. That is a trend that they should not continue.