A lackluster starting lineup for the Detroit Tigers traveled to Dunedin to take on the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday afternoon. Starter Mike Fiers made his third appearance of the spring and was far from impressive, giving up five first-inning runs and essentially ending the game before it started. The Tigers dropped the game 6-3.
The offense was able to collect 11 hits on the day, but only pushed across three runs. First baseman Edwin Espinal hit a two-out, two-run double in the top of the eighth to make the game a little more competitive, but Detroit never really threatened to take back the lead after the first frame.
Buck Farmer had a solid outing, striking out a pair while surrendering just one hit and no runs over two innings. Farmer could use a good spring after a frustrating 2017 which saw him post a 6.75 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. He has yet to give up a run in five innings in Florida.
Manager Ron Gardenhire looked to be resting most of his potential Opening Day starters, as the lineup saw many younger faces. Only Miguel Cabrera and Mikie Mahtook are likely to see serious playing time in April. Mahtook had a quality 2017 with Detroit, but is only 5-for-22 so far this spring.
Making a case
One player to keep an eye on: JaCoby Jones. The Tigers have quite a few options in the outfield for this season, but Jones has a chance to play his way into the conversation. His .170/.236/.278 slash line in 69 games with Detroit is uninspiring, but at just 25 years old there is still plenty of time for him to turn it around.
Jones has a solid .400 average this spring and found himself in the leadoff spot in Saturday’s lineup. It certainly appears that Gardenhire has an affinity at the top of the order, and even if Jones reaches base at a below-average rate, he still could have a chance to lead off. He will have to have an impressive spring to earn that position, but his defensive talents and flexibility should keep him in the mix.
Player of the game
A few Tigers had decent afternoons against the Blue Jays. Aside from Farmer’s two scoreless innings, Paul Voelker also looked sharp on the mound, striking out two without allowing a base runner. John Hicks drove in the Tigers’ first run in the sixth, and Grayson Greiner scored twice despite not recording a hit.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed