Michael Fulmer fell on his face again Tuesday night, displaying the same struggles with command we’ve seen much of the season so far. The Angels pounded out four home runs and waltzed away with this one, 9-2.
Michael Fulmer just isn’t sharp. Poor fastball command and a disturbing tendency to hang his offspeed pitches in the zone at the worst possible time, have vexed him so far in 2018. He walked four and had just one strikeout in this one, and gave up five runs. He was unable to finish even the fourth inning, and looked uncomfortable on the mound, leading to a few freakouts as people wondered if he was trying to shake out an arm issue. Something is wrong, but there was no word of any issues other than the sketchy pitching.
The Angels put a pair on in the second, and plated one on a Luis Valbuena single. Ian Kinsler came to the dish with two on base, having a miserable season thus far with his new club. Fulmer fell behind first pitch but he and Kinsler battled to a 2-2 stalemate after a lengthy at-bat. Fulmer tried to get him to chase the changeup down, but left it in the zone, where Kinsler promptly smoked it out to left centerfield. Luis Valbuena cracked a solo shot in the fourth which finished off Fulmer, and the Angels had a 5-0 lead.
The Tigers’ offense had some chances, but couldn’t claw their way back into it before the bullpen made that nearly impossible. JaCoby Jones and Jeimer Candelario cracked solo shots in the fifth and sixth inning to get the Tigers back into the game. Overall though, they racked up plenty of hits but didn’t come through at all with runners in scoring position.
The sixth continued after Candelario’s blast with Victor Martinez and James McCann reaching on singles. JaCoby Jones then battled Nick Tropeano through a lengthy at bat and drew a walk. The stage was set for Jose Iglesias in a 3-1 count. Iglesias got a fastball right down the middle and was late on it, perhaps over-swinging and popped out shallow right field. That was the Tigers’ last, best chance to get back in the contest.
Artie Lewicki was pretty good in relief of Fulmer. He went 3 2⁄3 innings allowing one run. Unfortunately, Buck Farmer blew up again in the top of the eighth, surrendering a pair of home runs, including Valbuena’s second of the day. In total he allowed three runs, putting this one out of reach.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
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JaCoby Jones: 1-2, R, RBI, HR, BB, SO
Lewicki: 3.2 IP, R, 3 H, BB, 2 SO