A team lacking in talent like the Detroit Tigers can’t make it any harder for themselves by booting the ball around. Once again, they made a bad thing worse, spoiling a good showing from the offense in an 8-6 loss to the New York Yankees.
Mike Fiers showed Tigers fans some potential good in his first start last Sunday. Friday night he showed the other side of the coin, though his defense was partly to blame.
Fiers hung in there against a tough Yankees lineup, striking out four, and was victimized by his defense repeatedly. In the second, a pair of blunders by Nicholas Castellanos, who badly misplayed a Gary Sanchez line drive into a double. Leonys Martin then misplayed an Aaron Hicks laser off the wall in right-center into an inside-the-park home run. Both balls were smoked, so Fiers doesn’t escape blame, but the Tigers’ outfield defense did him no favors there.
Things came apart for Fiers in the fifth and sixth innings. A leadoff double by Miguel Andujar was followed by a groundout, and then an RBI double by Brett Gardner. Aaron Judge singled him home. Judge stole second, and then raced home after a throwing error by Dixon Machado on a Didi Gregorious ground ball. Hicks led off the sixth with another rocket to right-center that went out for a solo shot to make it 6-1. Fiers didn’t last the inning.
It was not as bad an outing as it appears in the box score, but not particularly good either. Against a terrifying lineup, we’ll take that performance from Fiers every time. Buck Farmer got the Tigers through the seventh with a liberal dose of his best pitch, the changeup. There was some quality sequencing from James McCann and Rick Anderson there.
If the Tigers were going to have a lot of hope this weekend, they needed to get to young lefthander Jordan Montgomery early in this one. The Yankees bullpen was somewhat taxed after a wild series against the Boston REd Sox, and the Tigers could have helped themselves by jumping on Montgomery and getting into that dangerous bullpen early. It wasn’t to be. Montgomery allowed some hard contact, but stifled the Tigers until the fifth, when McCann unloaded on a mammoth solo home run to center field.
The Tigers finally got Montgomery out of the game with a little rally in the seventh. After another Castellanos single, Victor Martinez doubled to left field. Brett Gardner didn’t even look at Castellanos and Dave Clark took advantage, waving him in to score. The throw from Gardner was way off line as well, and Martinez was able to make it to third. He then rode home on a deep flyout to center off the bat of James McCann to make it 6-3 Yankees.
Unfortunately, as quickly as the Tigers scored two, they allowed two. Alex Wilson had another dreadful outing. He gave up a leadoff triple, a single, hit a batter, and issued a walk before getting the first out of the inning. Drew VerHagen came on to rescue him with the bases loaded, looking for the double play ball. Instead, he got a fly out to left field, and then a popup from Gary Sanchez to escape the jam. VerHagen’s slider again looked pretty usable, and he is continuing to hold some intrigue with the additional swing-and-miss in his game.
The Tigers continued to show some fight for the Friday night crowd, however. Jeimer Candelario absolutely crushed his first home run of the season some 440 feet over the wall in right-center off of Dellin Betances. Miguel Cabrera followed with his second single of the game. Victor Martinez then doubled for the second time in the contest, moving Cabrera to third, where McCann once again cashed in the Tigers’ chips with an RBI single to make it 8-5. That’s three RBI on the night for McCann as he finally broke out. Victor Reyes came on to run for Martinez, and after JaCoby Jones struck out on a foul tip, Jose Iglesias finally had a little batted ball luck, singling home Reyes to tighten things to 8-6.
Shane Greene handled the ninth with relative ease, leaving his teammates to face Aroldis Chapman in a bid for a comeback. That’s a tough task, and it proved so once again on a chilly Friday night in Detroit. Niko Goodrum and Jeimer Candelario went down on strikes, and Miguel Cabrera could do no better as the Yankees held on to take the first game of the series.
Alex Wilson may not be returning to the circle of trust
We’re to the point where it’s difficult to recall when Wilson was last consistently effective. Ron Gardenhire went to Wilson in the eighth tonight, and he surrendered four hits and a walk before getting a force at home plate off a Giancarlo Stanton on a bases loaded tapper back to the mound. Wilson left the game with one out and the bases loaded, another ugly outing. The Tigers need him to bring stability to the bullpen, but it doesn’t seem likely unless something changes for him.
Signs of life from the offense
There’s not much to brag about when your offense struggles to get to a solid but unspectacular lefty like Jordan Montgomery. Still, the Tigers did have several fine offensive performances on Friday night. Victor Martinez roped a pair of doubles. Cabrera and Castellanos each had two hits. But the big blows came from Jeimer Candelario who took Betances into big boy territory in right-center and James McCann, whose three hit, three RBI game—including a missile to straightaway center—was the performance of the night.
Who was the Tigers’ Player of the Game?
This poll is closed