Jordan Zimmermann put together a fine start on Saturday, shutting out the Kansas City Royals for five innings and the Tigers hung on to take this one 3-2.
Zimmermann’s command was as good as we’ve seen it this year, as he mixed pitches with authority, kept hitters off balance and didn’t miss over the heart of the plate. Zimmermann continued to rely on heavy doses of his slider, but cycled curveballs and changeups into the equation to keep the Royals punchless lineup guessing. He struck out five and walked three, allowing just two hits in five innings of work.
There was no trouble at all for the Tigers right-hander until the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Zimmermann punched out Mike Moustakas, the Royals most dangerous hitter, to escape the threat. The high pressure spot would mark the end of his day. Possibly over-influenced by having let Francisco Liriano go too deep in Friday’s game, Ron Gardenhire had a quick hook in this one, pulling Zimmermann after 85 pitches.
Meanwhile the entire lineup seemed to smoke the ball directly at Royals infielders for much of the day. They got on the board early with three off of Jason Hammel in the first inning. Leonys Martin led off with a single. After Jeimer Candelario struck out, Nicholas Castellanos doubled to left, plating Martin. Victor Martinez doubled home Castellanos, and then Martinez rode home on another double from John Hicks. But that would be all for the offense as, despite only six strikeouts and numerous other threats, as they just couldn’t buy another hit in a key spot.
Blaine Hardy replaced Zimmermann and allowed a solo shot in his season debut. Alex Wilson got the next four outs, and Gardenhire played matchups, using Daniel Stumpf and Joe Jimenez for a batter each to get through the eighth. Shane Greene came on for the save. To earn it, Greene had to survive a bloop that Leonys Martin misplayed off his face, followed by a grounder than Greene deflected into an infield hit. With no choice but to simply strike everyone out, the Tigers’ closer did so, racking up three punchouts to put down the Royals’ rally.
Tigers had a lot of fun with Leonys Martin, showing his misplay, the ball bouncing off his forehead, over and over on the big screen in the clubhouse.— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) May 5, 2018
THE LOBSTERS ARE BACK
The Tigers left 18 ducks on the pond in this one. There was a lot of bad luck—and quality positioning by the Royals—involved, but you’re begging for a heartbreaker when you squander so aggressively. JaCoby Jones has to be called out for hacking away and stranding six in this one.
Who was the Tigers player of the game?
This poll is closed
Jordan Zimmerman: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 SO
Nicholas Castellanos: 3-5, R, RBI, 2 2B, 3B, 2 SO
Victor Martinez: 2-4, R, RBI, 2B, BB