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Rays 9, Tigers 1: Battle of the Triple-A pitchers

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Spoiler alert: it didn’t go all that well for Buck Farmer.

Tampa Bay Rays v Detroit Tigers Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Buck Farmer started out his fourth game of the season looking good, squaring off against lead-off hitter Mallex Smith, but then quickly gave up a 2-run shot to Logan Morrison, putting the Tigers behind 2-0 before they were even out of the first inning. If it had just been the one, perhaps it wouldn’t have been too bad, but then in the top of the third inning, Farmer gave up another home run to Rays’ catcher Derek Norris.

The nail in the coffin for Farmer was a grand slam given up to Steven Souza Jr. giving the Rays a 7-1 lead in the third. For Farmer, who had won his first two outings with the Tigers in style, it’s been tough to see his decline the past two starts. Especially troubling is what his shaky confidence does to his pitches. He starts to rush them, overthrowing, and his command suffers as a result.

In the top of the fourth Chad Bell and Miguel Cabrera almost collided with each other at first base trying to tag for the third out of the inning. Cabrera ultimately slid under Bell to tag the base and thankfully no one came away injured.

Speaking of Bell, he did a tremendous job picking up where Farmer left off, holding the Rays scoreless for three innings, collecting five strikeouts, only one walk, and a mere two hits. He didn’t dazzle, but was doing great work keeping the Rays’ bats silent, right up until he gave up back-to-back home runs to Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison in the top of the seventh. Bell recovered quickly to finish the inning with no further damage. He ended the day with six strikeouts through 4.2 innings, and two earned runs.

Warwick Saupold and Daniel Stumpf concluded the game with an inning of work each, not giving up any further hits to the Rays.

ROARS:

Alex Avila continues his campaign of domination by chipping away with singles, and scored the first run of the game off an RBI single from Justin Upton. He collected another single, and a walk later in the game, proving he has no intention of slowing down offensively.

Dixon Machado was making some serious defensive plays, including one over-the-railing catch by the Tigers dugout. Machado also collected two singles during the game.

HISSES:

Buck Farmer was... not good.

The offense, once again, was painfully quiet. An early rally in the first inning was the most the Tigers could muster, and for the remainder of the game they were unable to muster any real threat against the Rays. Only Avila, Machado, Upton, and Alex Presley were able to collect hits.

STREAKS & INFO:

The Tigers are tied for second in baseball right now—with the Boston Red Sox—for game length, with an average time of 3:19. Number one? The Tampa Bay Rays at 3:21.

Typically the Tigers fare well agains the Rays at home, and this is the first time they haven’t won the series against Tampa since 2014.

May 7, 2016 was the last time the Tigers gave up five home runs in a single game.

Fox Sports Detroit refused to air this, but our thanks to this brave idiot champion for giving Warwick Saupold some extra time to warm up. Although, he might win the award for dumbest thing to do after getting onto the field.

The Tigers will now hit the road for another west coast road trip, facing the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres over seven games.